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1 














l^at^lar^ ffollege librar? 


FROM THE 

J. H UNTINGTON WOLCOTT 

FUND 

GIVEN BV ROGER WOLCOTT [CLASS 
OF 1870I DJ MEMORY OP HIS PATHZS 
FOR THE "PmiCHASE OF BOOKS OF 
PERMANENT VAIUZ, THE PREFERENCE 
TO BE GIVEN TO WORKS OF HISTORY, 
POLITICAL ECONOmr AND SOCIOLOGY" 








1 




1 



WANDERINGS 



AMONG THE 



FALASHAS IN ABYSSINIA; 



TOOETHEB WITH 



A DESCEiraON OF THE COCNTEY AND ITS 
VARIOUS INHABITANIS. 



Pnstmteb lis a Utap anb i^toents 6ngntfrings 

OF flCBHES AND PERSONS, TAKEN ON THE SPOT. 



BY THE 

REV. HENRY A. STERN. 



LONDON : 
WERTHEIM, MACINTOSH, AND HUNT, 

24, PATEKNOSTEIl-UOW, 
AKD 23, HOLLB8-8Tii£ET, CAYENDUU-SQUARB. 

1862. 



\^t He%?.» 





11 



r ^-t^ <^t^ 7 <^'' !!v 



LOSIDOV: WKliTHBIM, MACXMTOIH, AKD BDMT, 

24, , PATEEM08TUl-aOW, 
AVD 23, HOLLKt-tTmXXT, CAVBVDllH-ldUARB. 



PREFACE. 



In presenting this little volume to the public, I may 
truly say that I am actuated by no other motive than 
a deep solicitude for the spiritual and temporal welfare 
of a people, whose past history and future destiny are 
alike calculated to enlist the sympathy both of the 
Christian and the philanthropist. Situate in the very 
centre of hordes of untutored Pagans and degraded 
Mahomedans, Abyssinia seems marked out by its 
geographical position to become the focus from 
whence light and knowledge, commerce and civilisa- 
tion, are yet to radiate over enthralled and benighted 
Equatorial Africa. 

The special object of my visit to that country w^ 
the evangelization of that remnant of Israel, known 
by the name of Falaahaa ; but this did not prevent 
me from coming in continual contact with every other 
class of people, and what I saw, as well as the im- 
pressions made on my mind, I have faithfully written 
down in the following pages. 

A 2 



IV PREFACE. 

About the Gallas^ who occupy the extensive pla- 
teaux south of Shotty I have carefully abstained 
from offering any opinion, and that simply because 
most of the intelligence communicated by Mahomedan 
pedlars, or deported slaves, is, generally, exaggerated, 
if not altogether devoid of truth, and also, because 
on my return to Abyssinia, I anticipate facilities, 
which before did not exist, for gaining more correct 
information in reference to those numerous tribes. 

The mystery which has hitherto enshrouded the 
FdlashaSy and made their very existence a matter of 
doubt and uncertainty to the Jewish historian,* will in 
some degree be removed by the facts I have here 
recorded. This result alone would, however, have 
afforded me little satisfaction with my journey, had it 
not also been made the means of awakening some in- 
terest in behalf of a quarter of a million of souls, who 
are eminently fitted to exert a potent influence on 
the corrupt Church of Abyssinia, and, through that 
Church, on the teeming population of a mighty Con- 
tinent. 

* Vide Dr. Jost's "Geshichte der Israeliten," voL viiL p. 170. 



CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER I. 



Page 



Departure from Cairo — Voyage on the Nile — Camak and Luxor 
— Assouan — Koroeko — Across the Desert — Brackish Wells — 
The Sareb — ^Abou Hamed — Berber — Embarkation — Nubian 
Scenery — Arrival at E[hartum 1 

CHAPTER II. 

The Bazaar— Nubian Belles — European Residents — ^Trade in 
Ivory — Capture of Slaves — Consular Protest — Mons. Malzac's 
Conquests — Romish Missions — Failure — Removal — ^^Blue 
River — Arab Honesty — Ennui — Fever — Egyptian Rule — 
Courtesy of Aoud-el-Kerim — White Ants— Natives of Soudan 
— Rough Road — Ague — Kedarif — Michel the Copt • .11 

CHAPTER III. 

Kedarif — Matrimonial Edict — Cure of Fever — Obstinate Camel 
— Close to a Boa — Doka — Intercourse with Sheikhs — Beau- 
tiful Scenery — Savage Inhabitants — Matamma — Sheikh's 
Rudeness — Change — Evening Chat — Lev6e of the Sheikh — 
Novel Interment — Uninhabited Country — Wochnee — For- 
cible Detention — Picturesque Landscape — Hospice in the 
Forest — Tschelga — Conspicuous Encampment — Religion of 
Uie Kamants 30 

CHAPTER IV. 

Visit to the Palambaras — Extensive View — Judgment Hall — 
Prompt Justice — Strange Request — Hospitality — Orders 
from the Royal Camp — Coal on the Qicanque — A Storm — In- 
telligence — Unguarded Camp — March of Troops — Penrerted 
taste of the Women — Arrival in the Royal Camp — Audience 
of the King — Visit from a Great Chief — Passion Week — 
Military Parade — Royal Interest in Missions . .46 



I 
/ 



VI CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER V. 

Page 
The King— His youthful Career— Death of his Uncle— Strife 
between the Sons — KomcCs Flight— Becomes a Freebooter, 
Farmer, Bebel, and powerful Chief — Defeat in the Lowlands 
— Breach with the Queen — Battle at Tachako — Capture of the 
Queen — Belease — Treachery — Revenge — Kasa conquers God- 
jam — Imprisons Beru Ooshu — Takes Tigr^ — Is crowned King 
Theodoros — Chastises the Wollos — Subjugates Shoa — Seques- 
tration of Church Property — Embassy of the Copt Patriarch 
— Unsuccessful Intrigues — Revolting Barbarities . . .62 

CHAPTER VI. 

Ignorance of Court Etiquette — Excursion to the Oumarah — 
Seclusion of Aristocratic Ladies — Comparative Advantage of 
Scanty Clothing — Dread of a Famine — Open-air Repose — 
Disagreeable Intrusion — Dormitory of an Anglo- Abyssinian 
Noble — Morning Salutation — Sham Fight — Roads — 
Hot Mineral Springs — Sanitary Virtue — Origin — Troi)ical 
Conflagrati<Mi — A Royal City — Disappointed Hopes — 
Gafiat 82 

CHAPTER VII. 

European Visitors — Character of the Abyssinians — ^Hospitality 
no Virtue — Broundo Feast — Voracious Appetite — Hailstorm 
— ^Ascent of the Guna — Magnificent Prospect — A Lawless 
District — ^A Mohaihinedan Village — Dangerous Excursion — 
Speedy Termination — Meeting with the Primate . . . 99 

CHAPTER VIII. 

Departure from Tshatshaho — Strolling Minstrels — Royal 
Nuptials — Objections to Indissoluble Marriages — Royal 
Banquet — Mendicants — Congratulatory Visit . . .115 

CHAPTER IX. 

Dispensation of Justice— /T?^^ a Negest — Reform of the Criminal 
Code — Punishment of Traitors — Predilection for the Free- 
booters* Trade— Criminal Jurisprudence— Places of Re- 
fuge — ^Ecclesiastical Court — Priests in Cliains — Prelatical 
Power _ . . .124 



I 



CONTENTS. VU 

CHAPTER X. 

Fftge 

Termination of the Nuptial Festivities— Royal Contempt for the 
Priesthood— Uncomfortable Quarters— Choice of Eesidence — 
Liberal Landlord — Accession to our Circle — Aquatic 
Exercise— Tropical Hams— Bos Ot^ic- Medical Treatment— 
-4/«^a iSa/cwce— Retribution on the Wollos — Fate of Captives 
— Gloomy Foreboding Verified — Audience at Jan Meeda — 
Ill-temper of the Despot 138 

CHAPTER XL 

Diseases — The Teenia — Antidote -The Bouda — His Power — 
Mode of Exorcism— Revolting Taste — Fatal Jlffects — Tor- 
ments of the Ear — Easy Cure — Solution of the Demoniacal 
Complaints 151 

CHAPTER XII. 

Close of the Rainy Season — Festivities — Terpsichorean Exer- 
cise — Universal Lustration — Favourable Auguries — The 
Plague — Bridge over the ^nft— Melancholy Tidings — Pri- 
mitive Court of Justice — An Unfortunate Marriage — 
Numerous Visitors — Low Diet — An Island in the Lake — 
Friendly Peasants 162 

CHAPTER XIII. 

Market Visitors — ^Archiepiscopal Palace — Gondar — A Funeral 
— Touching Scene — Belief in Purgatory — Tascar — Filial 
Affection 176 

CHAPTER XIV. 

Fidaahfu — Early Settlement in Abyssinia— Chequered Existence 
— Prejudices against Unbelievers — Deprecate Early Marriages 
— Offer Sacrifices — Perform the Ceremonial Law — Strictly 
Observe the Sabbath — Possess no Correct Ideas about the 
Messiah — Priestly Superstitions — Mistaken Sanctity . .184 

CHAPTER XV. 

Visit to Avomo — Jews in British Uniform — Adoration of the 
Queen of England— Scope of the Law— False Report — 
Castle of the ira/zoro*— The Proud Monk humbled— Monu- 
ment of FagUidas' Horse — Remains of former Wealth — Apt 
Illustration— The Shadow King— Uncomfortable Vestry- 
Church of St. Anastasius— Picturesque Situation— Devotion- 
less Worshippers — Transubstantiation — Conversion of a 
Sceptic— Worthy Communicants— The TabU . .109 



VIU CONTENTS. 



CHAPTER XVI. 



Page 



The Feast of the Cross— Grand Ulumination — Sharjj Reproof 
— Open-Air Assembly — Military occupation of Gondar — 
Solemn Confession — Sudden Arrival of the King — Grand 
Breakfast — Execution of Traitors — Immorality of Gondar 
— ^Biography of Teda Haimanot — Trade of the Metropolis . 221 

CHAPTER XVII. 

Departure from Gondar — Bivouac in the Field — Morning in 
the Tropics — ^A Sabbath Congregation — An Epicure's Repast 
—The Youthful Students — ^A pert Woman — Benighted in 
the Jungle — ^A new Version of Man's Creation — Interview 
with the Falasha High-Priest — Affecting Prayer — Appalling 
Passage — The Domain of the Ahoona — Magic Powers . . 239 

CHAPTER XVIII. 

Malicious Reports — Four Expounders of the Law — Boisterous 
Meetings — Picturesque Groups — Mode of Travelling — Meet- 
ing with a Priest — A Motionless Snake — Weavers abandon 
the Loom — An Annoying Brawl — Suspicious Quarters — The 
Potters of Gorgora EUa — A Settlement without a Bible — 
Deplorable Ignorance — A Morose Host — Numerous Visitors 
— Eagerness to obtain Bibles 250 

CHAPTER XIX. 

An Unlettered Group — ^The Monkey-bread Tree— Sincere In- 
quirers — Great Surprise — Ethiopian Serenaders — The Fanatic 
Monk— Evening Chat — ^Ardent Debate — An Undaunted Pe- 
titioner — A Desolate Region — Beauty of the Lowland — An 
Aristocratic Friend — Tlie Eloquent Prophet — Conjugal Dif- 
ferences — ^The Deserted Wife — Midnight Adventures — Drejul 
of the New Testament — The BreatlUess Pursuit — Refusal of 
a Request 273 

CHAPTER XX. 

Choice of a Station — Unsuccessful Missionary Efforts - Influence 
of Missions to the Falashas — Hojieful Symj)toms — Conversion 
of Ethiopia — Spread of Christianity — Dangerous Enemies — 
The Jesuits — Sujierstition — Heretical Doctrines — Incipient 
Reforms — Ordination — Celibacy — Mental Culture . . 298 

CHAPTER XXI. 

Physiognomy — Dress— The Toilet — Ornaments — Shoes — Mil- 
liners — Mode of Washing — Fumitiu-e — Retinue — Minerals — 
Undeveloped Resources — Cotton — Bright Destiny . . . 310 



I 



1 



1 . 



1 



\ 



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m 



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•J 



WANDERINGS 



AM02ra 



THE FALASHAS U ABYSSINIA. 



CHAPTER I. 

Departure from Cairo — Voyage on tlie Nile — Camak and 
Luxor — AiMouan — Korasko — Aci-oss the Dc»sort — BiTickish 
Wellft — ^The Sai-eb — Abou HamcMl — Berber — Embarkation 
— Nubian Scenery — Arrival at Khartum. 

It was with a mingled sensation of joy and regret, of 
hope and fear, that I embarked on board a dahahia 
Avhicblay moored at Boulak,\\iQ port of Cairo; and, with 
a sad and lingering look, bade farewell to Egypt and 
railways — to Egypt and the last vestige of civilized 
life. Our crew, who, with the exception of the rais, 
were all natives of Nubia, received me and my com- 
panion with grins and smiles which, to the surprise 
of their bah/ieesh - longing cupidity, we returned 
with libeml interest in the same ephemeral currency. 
The wind being favourable, the cable was instantly 
loosed, the lateen sail unfurhul, and amidst the usual 

B 



2 EGYPTIAN SAILORS. 

accompaniment of disputes and quarrels, bustle and 
confusion, our boat swept past the peasant's hut and 
the Pasha's palace — the pleasure-grounds of the living 
and the time-defying tombs of the dead — till evening 
veiled garden and pyramid, hovel and hall, from the 
admiring gaze. The wind, which increased with the 
advance of night, propelled our craft at such a rapid 
rate, that, notwithstanding the varied attractions on 
the banks of the Nile, we continued our voyage with 
no other interruption than an occasional brush from a 
floating stack of straw, or a jerk on the shallow bed 
of the river. Our sailors, to dispel their drow^sy 
feeling, entertained themselves with stories of Gins 
and Gliouk^ that might have excited the envy of the 
inventive Scheherazadee, OniaVy a stalwart athletic 
black, whose dark and fiery eyes, as he sat cross- 
legged on the deck, shone like two coals gleaming 
out of a heap of expiring embers, particularly excelled 
in this wonderful art. Ilis audience, rapt in the 
deepest attention, when he came to a grand climax 
evinced their interest by exclaiming, "There is no 
might or power, except in Allah the exalted and 
good." I do not know how long the story-teller 
spoke, and his friends listened. I experienced a 
kind of weariness creeping over me, and, whilst my 
thoughts were still with the dramatis personm who 
had engaged our sympathy, a spirit of forgetfidness 
overwhelmed my senses, and Solyman and his ring, 
as well as Mohammed and his horse Barek, were both 
shut out from my mind by a sound and welcome 
sleep. 



VOYAGE ON THE NILE. 3 

After a pleasant sail of more than a week we 
reached Camak and Luwor, where we spent four 
days amongst ruins and tombs, which have been so 
often described that I need not plunge into the 
secrets of hieroglyphic mysteries, or linger in the 
rifled chambers of proud royalty's last resting-place. 
The raisy and crew of the boat, shared in our stoic 
indifference to the fallen grandeur and gloomy 
desolation of Thebes ; and without a single sigh or 
a parting glance of sorrow, we took our departure 
from a spot where vanity and ambition have traced 
their awful characters on the wreck and ruins of a 
city, which, to the very verge of time, may well elicit 
the wonder and admiration of every visitor. 

From royal Thebes to Assouan (the Syene of Ezekiel 
xxix. 10), we passed, in uninterrupted succession, cities 
and temples that once rang with the hum of busy and 
gay multitudes, but where now no sound breaks upon 
the ear, except the discordant cry of the jackal, or 
the plaintive ditty of the weary camel-driver. 

Anxious to hasten on we immediately, on reaching 
the first cataract, secured camels ; and on the follow* 
ing day, before the sun had sunk behind the rocks and 
granite cliffs, which form the natural boundary between 
ancient Egypt and Ethiopia, we were again spread- 
ing our sails to the gentle breeze, and drifting 
slowly up the sacred river till December the 14th, 
when we exchanged the boat for the camel, and the 
muddy Nile for the sandy desert. Our original 
intention was to go to Wady Halfay a few miles 
south of the cataracts which here impede the 

B 2 



4 INTERVIEW WITH SHEIKH ACHMED. 

navigation up to Berbery and from thence by land 
to Bongola ; but as that journey would have 
occupied us far more time than the route from 
KoroskOy across the dreaded Bahr Atmur, we chose, 
regardless of its dangers and trusting in the protection 
of our God, the more fatiguing and trying, though 
the shorter and more expeditious journey. 

Sheikh Achnied el Klialifa, one of the chiefs respon- 
sible for the safety of goods and travellers across the 
desert, 'wms then at Korosko ; and as I had letters of 
recommendation to him, Mr. Bronkhorst and myself, 
on disembarking, repaired to his dwelling. Together 
with his brother and some subordinates, he was seated 
on a carpet under the shadow of the court wall, smoking 
and sipping coflfee. We squatted down near these 
magnates of the sandy wilds, and after a few un- 
meaning complimentary phrases, and a heap of com- 
monplace inquiries, we broached the object of our 
visit, and requested to be fmrnished, as soon as prac- 
ticable, with a sufficient number of camels for our 
journey. The worthy chief at once promised to 
attend to this matter ; and after a few other arrange- 
ments about the hire of animals, and the weight they 
would be able to carry, we took leave and returned 
to our tent. 

The following day the owners of the camels made 
their appearance, and began to inspect our cargo. 
Confident that we were strangers, and unacquainted 
with the rcgidations, they began to grumble at the 
size of one box and the weight of another. At first we 
were quiet ; but as patience is not very elastic in an 



PREPARATIONS TO CROSS THE DESERT. 5 

atmosphere where the thermometer rises above a hun- 
dred in the shade, we at last silenced their garrulous 
tongues by acquainting them with the agreement 
we had concluded with the Sheikh, and the injury 
their bluster and talk would inflict on their repu- 
tation for honesty, and their prospect of a baksheesh. 
The last word had a talismanic effect; for it was 
scarcely uttered when all instantly assented to our 
proposition, and promised, with the help of Allah, to 
make the joiuney a perfect pleasure trip (of course it 
was understood) if sand, heat, and bad water would 
allow it. 

The same evening our water-skins were filled, 
our packages securely bound with strong ropes, and 
every other preparation completed for our march 
across the dreaded desert, which, till within the last few 
years, on accoimt of its many' dangers, was under an 
interdict from the Egyptian Government, and would 
probably still enjoy its imdisturbed solitude, had not 
some European merchants who trade with Soudan 
succeeded, through the influence of their respective 
Consuls, in having it opened for the more expe- 
ditious transport of their various articles of com- 
merce. 

Our caravan, which consisted of about two hundred 
camels, met together, more for the sake of company 
than for mutual protection, at a place called El Bab, 
six hours' distance from the banks of the Nile. Here 
all our fellow-travellers were already encamped, and it 
was quite a cheerful sight to see in the boundless 
desert so many blazing bivouac fires, and to hear in 



6 BRACKISH WELLS. 

the otherwise tenantless waste the hum of so much 
active and busy talk. 

During the summer months the caravans, in their 
passage across this sun-bhghted tract, march from 
eighteen to twenty hours per day ; but, when the heat 
is less intense and violent, the evening terminates the 
journey, and the camp is not broken up again till the 
scantily-clad camel-owners feel their chilled frames 
warmed and their cold blood heated by the fierce 
rays of a scorching and merciless sun. 

On the fifth day we reached Murad, the only spot 
in this arid and blighted desert where there are a few 
brackish wells, which contain a sufficient quantity of 
water to prevent the various caravans that travel 
along this route from perishing with thirst. We were 
fortunate in passing just after the rainy season, when the 
wells are tolerably full, and the muddy, turbid hquid 
may yet be gulped down without a shudder or paling 
lip ; but when I returned from Abyssinia, after a very 
dry summer, the water of the Murad was so un- 
palatable to the taste, and so deleterious to the 
system, that I believe the unfiltered draught of the 
Thames in the month of August would have been 
like the nectar of the gods compared to this loath- 
some and disgusting drink. 

Our empty gerbehs being again replenished, and 
the thirst of our camels allayed, we quitted at a very 
early hour these stagnant wells, and in a solemn and 
serious mood, which the prospect of a very wearisome 
day was not calculated to dissipate, trudged in separate 
files over the sand-covered, pathless waste. There 



THE MIRAGE. 7 

is somethiDg gratifying to the mind, and cheering to 
the heart in the midst of the keen toils of a desert 
journey, where you have continually to struggle 
with dangers and fatigues, hardships and privations, 
which those who live in the busy hive (rf large cities, 
or move about in the garlanded and festooned circles 
of fashion, cannot possibly appreciate ; in fact, the 
very idea that your life is bound up with the filthy 
water-skins strung on the back of the camel you 
bestride, or linked to the heap of stones carelessly 
strewn as waymarks along the path you pursue, tends 
not only to brace the nerves and to fortify the soul, 
but also to strengthen the belief and to deepen the 
conviction that there is a gracious Being watching 
over you, whose presence fills every void, and whose 
goodness guards your every step. 

The tantalizing sareby or mirage, which had mocked 
our sight ever since we entered this arid domain 
of sand and calcined rocks, increased with the power 
of the sun and the refraction of his rays. This 
treacherous phenomenon, as if it delighted to irritate 
and to vex the wayworn pilgrim, now deludes his eye 
with a regular succession of beautiful lakes and shady 
avenues, and then again with an expanse of waving 
grass around a picturesque villa ; here is presented a 
grove of towering trees, there a flock of browsing 
cattle : in fact, the deception is so perfect, that the 
traveller will not beUeve that the beautiful scene on 
which the eye longingly lingers is not real, till his 
camel actually treads in the saltpetre-encrusted soil and 
dissipates the optical illusion. On the eleventh day 



8 ON THE NILE AT BERBER. 

we reached — minus a good number of camels, which 
perished from exhaustion — Abou Hamedy where we 
again beheld the towering palm, and drank of the 
refreshing Nile. This miserable village, which is on 
three sides surrounded by mountains of sand, boasts 
of about twenty huts, and a proportionate number of 
inhabitants, whose sole occupation seems to consist in 
drinking meressay in fetching the loads left in the 
desert, and in mending and filling the gerhehs of the 
travellers. We remained among these squalid and 
uncouth specimens of humanity thirty-six hours, and 
then, perched again on the backs of our patient animals, 
pushed on to Berber y which we reached on January 
the 5th, 18G0, having spent nineteen days in ac- 
complishing this formidable and trying journey. 

On our arrival at this port we did not search for 
a house, but unloaded on the banks of the river, 
amidst heaps of dust, mountains of millet, and crowds 
of men and women of all shades and colours, from 
the dirty black of the cinder, to the shining bronze of 
the statue. We had no desire to protract our stay in 
the glaring sunshine, blinding dust, and deafening 
noise ; and therefore, without delay, engaged the ser- 
vices of the Sheikh-eUBahr y or river authority, and in 
a few minutes a boat, something in the shape of an 
English lighter — only not so well built or so water- 
tight — was offered to us for hire. My Arabic, which 
was a guarantee against imposition, facilitated the 
conclusion of the bargain, and in less than twenty- 
four hours we had forgotten the Atmury the camel, 
the mirage, and all the other imaginary attractions of the 



ARRIVAL AT KHARTUM. 9 

desert ; and, impelled by a cool and strong north wind, 
were floating past islands abounding in a luxuriant 
vegetation, and banks lined with the acacia, doumy 
and palm, beneath whose inviting shade the bean and 
melon, the onion and garlic, grew in happy seclusion. 
There was something pleasing and charming wherever 
the eye gazed, after the desert monotony, except in 
man, who, like the shoals of crocodiles by which he is 
surrounded, looked savage, lazy, and repulsive. On 
the 18th we landed at Khartum^ a large and im- 
portant town, situate two miles beyond the conflux 
of the White and Blue Rivers; and, like Sanaar, 
which it has eclipsed, is notorious for the laxity of 
its morals, and the fatality of its malarious fevers. 

I had letters for the British agent, KhaleeUeU 
Shamee, and also a Viceregal Firman and official 
letter from his Highness, Said Pasha, for the Mudeer, 
or Governor of Sanaar and Soudan ; but, as this dig- 
nitary was absent from town, my official documents 
were of little value. There being no khan, or hos- 
pice, in this remote place, every traveller is compelled 
to depend for shelter and refuge on the kindness of 
friends, and the generosity of the charitable. I fol- 
lowed the good example of the Khowadffee, or trader ; 
and, accompanied by an ebony-coloured Nubian, 
wandered through dusty lanes, and sandy streets, 
towards the house of H. B. M.'s acting agent. 

The advent of a European traveller in Soudan 
being a matter of no trifling import and significance, 
conjecture was immediately rife about the unknown 
strangers; and, since no one but a merchant or 



10 H08PITAJJTY. 

traiHcking Consul was likely to visit such a remote 
place^ the cunning shopkeeper and calculating trader 
already trembled lest the influx of fresh goods should 
glut the market, and diminish their wonted profits. 
KJialeel-eUShamee did not share the universal panic ; 
on the contrary, he was delighted with the visit of 
travellers over whom he could extend the aegis of his 
office, and the wand of his authority. To provide a 
lodging for his welcome guests was, however, a serious 
matter, as his own house was crowded with mer- 
chandise from Manchester and Kordoufan, from the 
banks of the Thames and the malarious plains of the 
White River. Happily, Dr. Natterer, the Austrian 
Consul, relieved him in his dilemma by receiving us 
under the shelter of his roof. Having thus secured 
lodgings, I again retraced my way through the 
queer-looking streets and noisy thoroughfares towards 
the river. A number of dirty and scantily-dad 
blacks were already upon the ground, longing for 
the piastres which were to reward their removal of 
our luggage. The bargain (for without previous 
agreement, no porter in Asia or Africa can be 
satisfied) was soon struck, and whilst we and 
the representative of Britain's power, in a most 
undignified posture, squatted down on the heaps of 
rotting offal which adorn the river's edge, our khamals 
seized boxes and bags, and, with grins and smiles 
that made their ugly faces look still uglier, hurried 
away to our future residence. 



11 



CHAPTER II. 

« 

The Bazaar — Nubian Belles — European Residents — ^Trade in 
Ivory — Capture of Slaves — Consular Protest— Mons. Malzac's 
Conquests — Romisli Missions — Failure — Removal — Blue 
River — Arab Honesty — Ennui — Fever — I^yptian Rule — 
Courtesy of Aoud-el-Kerim — White Ants — Natives of Soudan 
— Rough Road — Ague — Kedaref — Michel the Copt. 

And now being once more, for a limited period, 
installed in comfortable quarters within four walls, we 
exchange our soiled, unwashed Oriental travelling 
gear for that most shapeless decoration of the human 
frame — the hybrid garb of the Soudan Turk, and 
sally forth to admire the various attractions of the 
capital of Soudan. The bazaar, which in Khartum, 
as in Constantinople and Cairo, constitutes the 
rendezvous of the merchant and shopkeeper, the 
idle and busy, was the spot which naturally attracted 
our curiosity. It was now towards noon, when the 
vendors of milk, bread, fish, poultry, onions, and 
garlic, brought their inviting deUcacies to the market ; 
and never did I, in all my peregrinations, jostle 
through such a crowd of semi-naked savages, and 
breathe such an unclean aroma, as in that strange 
emporium 6f African trade. In the motley crowd 
were to be seen the haughty Turk, the grave Arab, 
the grinning, thick-lipped negro, the melancholy Galla, 
and the garrulous representatives of countless tribes 



12 THE BAZAAR. 

of Bedouins, from the shores of the Red Sea to the 
deserts of Darfour^ and as the majority of this mixed 
multitude had the greatest contempt for dress, and a 
passionate fondness for rancid grease, which ran in 
stagnant and bUstering streams down their matted 
and bushy hair, till every one glistened and sparkled 
like a lump of melting tallow, the tout ensemble pre- 
sented a most savage and repulsive scene. Some of 
the women in that animated and boisterous bazaar, 
had really most pleasing, mild, and interesting 
features. Unlike the custom in other Mohammedan 
countries, the dark helle of Nubia and Soudan enjoys 
unbounded liberty ; neither a veil, nor the white 
folds of a cumbrous sheet conceal her soft, lustrous 
eyes, or impede the elasticity of her graceful step, 
as she walks along the banks of the river, or brings 
the produce of the farm to market. If above twelve 
or thirteen years of age, she wears a long piece 
of calico, partly around the loins and partly over the 
shoulder ; and if under that age, a mere cincture of 
tasselled leather is all that encumbers the slender 
waist and elegant figure. The chief attention of 
Ethiopia's sallow and copper-coloured maidens is, 
however, bestowed on the adornment of the head, and 
in this matter they are as much swayed by fashion as 
the most fastidious beauty in the Quartier St. 
Germain, or in the stately saloons of Belgravia. 
Happily, their fashions are not subject to the caprice 
of a modiste, or the inventive power of a distinguished 
beauty. The palace at Karnak, and the tombs of the 
Theban monarchs, as in times of old so also in the 



XtBIAS BELLES. 13 

resent day, fiimisli the approved and ortliodox inoduls 
n tbe most ambitious /riser. Pride has, however, 
1 all countries to pay a penalty for its indulgence, 
lius, in Africa, where ciirl-papers have not yet been 
itroduced, the woman whose hair has undergone the 
cdious process of plaiting, must also, during the night, 
Bve it protected from becoming dishevelled ; and 
i this cannot so easily be done in a country where a 
ollock's hide or a mat form the bed, necessity has 
Dutrived a bowl-shaped stool VJ in which the 
is wedged, and on this ^L substitute for 

pillow the vain maiden sleeps in an immovable and 
lost uncomfortable posture during the tedious hours 

'. the long tropical night. In Abyssinia, where the 
romcn are particularly proud of their copper-coloured 
Siarms, very few, even on a jouruey and with fifty 
ounds weight on their backs, will forget to take the 
Iroodfu pillow and the hollow grease-filled gourd, 
\ai besides this, some of the fair sex throughout 
Va^a and Soudan endeavour to heighten their charms 
ly imparting a blue dye to then- hands, feet, h'ps, and 
Drt-hcod ; and this tattooed uppearance, which makes 
ler look perfectly litdi:ous, the tawny-visaged beau 
onsidcrs a great addition to the attractions of his 
namorata. 
The hcnt, noise, and pestilential exhalatious from the 

rains, putrid fish, rancid grease, rotten vegetables, 
Old fiUhy natives made me anxious to leave a scene' 
nhav every ohjuct was repulsive to the sight, and ' 
iTery odour oft'ensivo to tlie olfactory nerves. 
The foUowing day most of the European re8identa,i 



14 TRAFFIC ON THE WHITE RIVER. 

who here constitute a Uttle colony of about fifteen in- 
dividuals, visited us. Two or three of these are in the 
service of the Egyptian Government ; but the rest are 
traders, and hunters of the elephant along the banks 
of the White River, where they also spend the greater 
part of the year. The ivory trade, which, a score of 
years ago, was a most lucrative speculation, has of 
late become a very hazardous business ; and I have 
been assured by natives, as well as Europeans, that 
most persons, and especially the Mohammedans, who 
embark in this dangerous and expensive trafiic, make 
it remunerative by combining with it an extensive 
barter in slaves. Frequently an armed crew of a boat, 
in sailing up the river, espy a settlement of negroes, 
and before these unsuspecting dwellers in the jungle 
are aware of the marauders' approach, they are 
hemmed in by a set of inhuman wretches, who, 
prompted by a love of rapine and plunder, not un- 
mingled with a fanatical zeal for religion, eagerly rush 
upon these unhappy beings, and before they can seize 
their defensive weapons, the encampment is on fire, 
and half its occupants at the mercy of the fiendish 
captors. Occasionally the blacks, goaded to despera- 
tion, lie in ambush for their cruel foes ; and no sooner 
do these, confident in their arms, touch the land, than 
they are pierced by scores of poisoned arrows, or 
transfixed by many a quivering spear. 

The Government, notwithstanding treaties with 
European Powers, not only connives at this infamous 
traffic, but encourages it by sending extensive orders 
for strong sinewy blacks to fill up the thinning ranks 



A MINIATI}R£ FRENCH MONARCH. 15 

of the anny. Dr. Natterer, the energetic Austrian 
Consul, has repeatedly protested against this official 
infringement of established contracts ; but his temerity 
hitherto only involved him in serious troubles with 
the Governor of Soudan ; and for a considerable time 
he even dared not venture into the streets without • 
loaded revolver in his pocket.* Even during my stay at 
Khartum^ I heard of several convoys, which had secretly 
been imported into town, and as ninety-two boats 
were then on their way up the White River, it was 
generally anticipated that the pretended speculators 
m ivory would make the negroes pay in . default of 
the elephant. 

Mons. Malzac, a Frenchman, who resided occa- 
sionally at Khartum, some years ago conquered a 
large and well-populated district, between the fourth 
and second degrees north of the equator. The mi- 
hiature monarchy flourished under his mild sway ; and 
already new and more extensive schemes of power and 
dominion were matured in his mind, when death, to 
the grief of his sable subjects, put an end to his 
mortal career, and to all the ambitious projects he 
sought to achieve. 

Mr. Binder, an Austrian, has, by right of purchase, 
succeeded to this little domain, and if he can make 
his power protective against the inroads of black as 
well as white depredators, he may, perhaps, be able 

* I obtained the above information, and many other matters 
connected with the slave-trade, "which I have no authority to 
make public, from Dr. Natterer, who is the most inde^tigable 
opponent of this wicked tra£ic. 



16 ROMISH MISSIONARIES. 

to bring other tribes under his rule, and thus organize 
a little state on the White River, which may yet prove 
a formidable barrier against the nefarious trade in 
human flesh. 

Khartum, besides the European traders, contained 
also till last year a good number of Romish missionaries 
for the conversion of the various tribes in Central 
Africa. The Mission, which is most liberally sup- 
ported by the Austrian Marien-Verein, commenced 
its operations on a scale worthy of the enterprise it 
aimed to achieve. Khartum having been selected 
as the most eligible locality for the establishment of 
a school, the training of a native agency, and all 
the other appUances of an efficient Mission, a 
building was raised, which, although only the six- 
teenth part of it was completed, yet involved an 
expense, as I heard from reliable sources, exceed- 
ing thirty thousand pounds. Fever and sickness, 
which m air-tight stone house, an irrigated garden, 
and a sedenttiry mode of existence courted and 
bribed, at last convinced the priests of the inju- 
diciousness of their selection, and when sixteen 
missionaries in the prime of life had found a grave 
instead of a sphere of usefulness at Khartum, the 
whole establishment was removed to the Shelall 
opposite the sacred isle of Philoe, where the Egyptian 
Government has granted them a piece of ground 
for Mission buildings. The premature death of so 
many devout and zealous men might have found 
some compensation if the success of the work had 
corresponded with the life, energy, and means sacri- 



^^^^H DRUNKEN rjREW, 17 

^Hed in the prosecution of it ; but liilberto, ns I have 
^■ci assured by Roman Catholics at Khartum, ovring 
^b tUctr preaching too much Mary" and too little 
Kbrist, their etibrts have literally been in vain, and 
Vielr strength and money have been spent for 
naught. 

Our stay at Khartum having been protracted 

Iwyond our original intention, we at last made pre- 

para(ioii8 for our departure to real savagedom ; and 

1 the twelfth day after our arrival, embarked on tlie 

! Nile, and, between islands covered with huge 

diles, and high banks wooded by umbrella-shaped 

icias, sailed along to Abou Harass. The wind, 

t few lioura' languid breathing, subsided into a 

farisome ealm, and we had the greatest trouble in 

ducing our lazy crew, who lay coiled upou boxes and 

! in the grilling sun, to betake themselves to the 

towing rope. The following morning we came to 

£(fitn (ten minutes from the river), a wretched village 

loundiiig with meressa houses, and an equally 

Bpectable popiUation. The market, which happened 

> be hdd on our arrival, prompted the rais and his 

VUlors who had a few piastres to spend, to make a halt. 

lid-day passed away, afternoon cauie, the sun softly 

pvod down the horizon, and still none of tlic crew 

de their appearance. Wc began to think that they 

I deserted us and the boat, when several of them, a 

ttic too gay, and exhilarated from the potations they 

1 quflfled, crept on board. The rais soon followed, 

' UUcks, like bU luij-lHU-t>u» tribeB, rtigai-d wuitiuu (w a, 



18 POTENT REMEDl. 

but before he could reach the boat he fell on the heated 
sand^ writhing in agonizing contortions. His whole 
appearance indicated that the inebriating meressa, in 
which he had freely indulged whilst under the influ- 
ence of ague, must either be expelled or our craft sail 
without its commander. The latter plan was con- 
sidered the most feasible, when it occurred to me that, 
as possibly we might all have to suffer from similar 
maladies, a few experiments might not be amiss in 
promoting the skill of our future practice. Our box 
of medicines which, like the hoarded treasure of the 
miser we never allowed to be out of our sight, was 
instantly ransacked, and an emetic, such as an extreme 
fever case alone could sanction, was poured down 
the throat of our helpless patient. The result justified 
the potency of the remedy, and I believe the grateful 
rats and his amazed crew regarded me thenceforward 
as the greatest physician and the most wonderful 
bakeem that ever ploughed the waters of the Blue 
Nile. 

On the following day, we passed a good number of 
flocks which were browsing quite unguarded among 
the trees and bushes along the river's edge. Our sailors, 
under the pretext of collecting wood, neared the land, 
and before we could remonstrate with them, they had 
stolen a sheep, and stowed it safely away. In the 
evening we moored the boat under a high bank, far 
from any human habitation, and there, in conformity 
with the Mohammedan ritual, the stolen sheep was 
slaughtered and devoured in the name of Jllah. The 
religious scruples of these thieves reminded mc of 



^^^^^H ARAB 19 

^Hne Greek pirates, who, a few years ago, seized 

^Bschooner in the yEgean Sea, and murdered every 

K>al on lioard ; yet these desperadoes, who did not 

aliriuk from [jerpetrating the greatest crime, would 

^^>t, I was assured by some of their ovm countrymen, 

^B it was the season of Lent, touch any of the captured 

^^pt beef, although they were subject for many days 

to the most gnawing and distressing hunger. 

Our voyage, owing to a succession of calms and con- 
^^ury winds, became, nt l»st, so painfully tedious and 
^Bonotonous, that even the monstrous crocodiles lost 
^Beir attractions, and the ducks, geese, ibis, and 
^^Hicans, which fluttered in myriads on the isles and 
^BbUow brink of the water, ceased to excite the least 
interest or notice. 

At some of the villages where we tied up the boat 

jre tried to make short exploratory excursions ; but, 

^Bfter balf-an-hoiu's brisk walk over those illimitable 

^^hstcs which stretch like a heaving and undulating 

•ca far beyond tlic discoveries of modem geographical 

knowledge, all oiiMiird progress became impossible, 

nii with aching limbs, and a few brace of tough 

^eous as the only result of our toil, we again re- 

■ned to the boat, or dispelled our evening cftnui 

Idsc to some hovel in friendly converse with groups 

I well-disposed natives. 

I fever, the unavoidable accompaniment of the Soudan 

mate, notwithstanding every precaution, exhibited 

■ incipient symptoms amongst our party, and poor 

Cornelius, and an Abyssinian, whom, together witli a 

flompotuoo we had picked up at Khartum, lay pros* 

■. c 3 



20 MISRULE. 

trate from this insidious, agonizing malady. I applied 
the usual remedies, but the alternate exposure to heat 
by day, and damp by night, neutralized the effect of 
the medicine. The seventh day after our departure 
from Khartum saw us safe under the cover of our 
tent at Abou- Harass^ and never was life on the 
river more gladly exchanged for a Hfe on land, or the 
tyranny of a boat for the freedom of the desert, than 
by the lonely missionaries on the soil of equatorial 
Africa. 

This district, which belongs to the Government of 
Soudan, has the unenviable honour of possessing a 
Kashefy and a number of unpaid irregular troops. 
The Kasliefy or sub-governor, who is responsible 
to the Mudeer of Khartum^ makes that chief the 
barometer by which he regulates his own conduct: 
hence, if that oflScial is an honest man, — a rata 
avis indeed, — the population enjoys a Uttle respite 
from cruel tyranny and lawless exaction; but if, as 
usually happens, the reverse is the case, the poor 
people are subject to oppression the most revolt- 
ing, and taxation the most exorbitant. Before the 
conquest of Maho^net Alt, the various tribes in- 
habiting the peninsula between the White and Blue 
Rivers, although continually engaged in feuds and 
quarrels, which sometimes involved one or the other 
in misery and ruin, still enjoyed freedom from the 
harpies of a rapacious ruler, and a consciousness of 
independence from the insults of a lawless soldiery ; 
ever since that period, however, the SAeiMs, who attain 
power, expiate this offence, like A6ou Sinn of the 



AOUD-EL-KERIM. 21 

ShoukoureeSy in the citadel at Cairo — and those who 
continue weak, and so are not worth the expense of 
a long voyage, pay the penalty of this equally great 
offence with the loss of their lives, or the seizure of 
their property. Spoliation, imprisonment, murder, 
and every other crime, are almost the order of the 
day in this wretched land, and the traveller can 
scarcely wonder at the low state of a people who copy 
the Turk in his treachery, and emulate his example in 
vice. 

On the evening after our arrival I called on Sheikh 
Aoud-el'Kerim (the son of Abou Sinn, who is at 
present under surveillance at Cairo), and requested 
him to assist me in securing camels for Kedaref. The 
noble chief, who was seated under a mat-covered shed> 
surrounded by a score of inferior desert patriarchs> 
welcomed me with that frank and easy air which, in 
all climes, secures the confidence and wins the esteem 
far more than all the hollow and meaningless sens- 
tences which hypocrisy has introduced to gloss over 
the real sentiments, of the heart. Coffee and cigars 
(the gift of some Frank), which a group of happy and 
contented-looking slaves, in mute silence, handed 
round to the guests, stimulated thought and enlivened 
friendly converse to an extraordinary degree. My own 
errand to Abyssinia, — amongst men who had never 
seen any other European, except the dealer in ivory 
or the speculator in gum and ostrich plumes, — 
excited the greatest curiosity, and elicited many shrewd 
and sensible remarks. They all expressed their con- 
viction that Christianity would ultimately prevail over 



22 WHITE ANT8. 

every existing creed, and, in their utter ignorance 
of the Gospel, I was astonished to find that they 
cherished a vague and confused hope, to which 
oppression may have imparted its colouring, that this 
new reUgion would inaugurate an unprecedented era 
of prosperity and universal happiness. In going 
away^ Aoud Kerim again assured me that he 
would attend to my request, and without much 
delay provide camels and faithful men to conduct 
us to Kedaref. 

Our tent, which we pitched close to the river's 
edge, during the night suffered an attack, not from 
hostile Arabs, but from a far more insidious foe — a 
whole host of voracious and destructive white ants. 
Our bojces, though strong, could not resist these 
fearless invaders, and every article in our possession 
suffered^ more or less, from the nocturnal assault. 
The enemy, once in possession of our premises, could 
not be dislodged, and we had no alternative except to 
change our ground, or to decamp altogether. 

The Sheikh^ faithful to his promise, released us 
from our suspense, by despatching a file of sinewy 
and stalwart Arabs to pilot us from the river into the 
desert, and from the moist region of the ant and 
the palm to the thirsty land of the gum and the 
mimosa. Our camel-men were all Shoukoureea^ — 
a tribe formidable in numbers and notorious for their 
valour. 

Since the conquest of Mahomed AH, the bravery, 
in which they formerly excelled, has been greatly 
curbed ; still, did their Sheikh (who is at present a pri- 



CAMP HEAR THE EAnAD. 



23 ' 



toner in Egj'pt), feel so disposed, he might, viith a few 
■okes of his reed pen, or a word by a trusty 
nessenger, collect a sufficient army of warriors to 
nreiige, in the blood of every Egyptian in Soudan, 
he igiiohle captivity he has to endure. 

Our new travelling companions, quite a I'Arabe, 
ciitcred our tent, and in a peremptory tone announced ' 
that at noon we should start. Not at all disincUncd 
lo obey this summary order, we immediately struck 
our t*nt, and under a February sun, whose dazzling 
brilliancy blistered the face and inflamed the eyes, 
rwie off to the Rahad, and fixed our nocturnal abode ■ 
1 a beautiful forest close to some green and stag- 
lant pools, the remains of the last inundation. The 
report that wc were near a party of noniade robbers, 
Ifho, during the last few weeks, in spite of the Kashef 
ujd his half-company of insolent tasha bozuah, had 
Ibeen freely indulging their freebooting propensities, 
induced us to spend the night alternately in tvatching 
Kand sleeping, in admiring the starry loveHness of the 
4y, and in hugging the soft grass whicli wooed to 
pepose. Morning, with all its Africiin terrors of heat 
ind sun, aitjused us from an insensibility into which, 
I spite of banditti, hyenas, and lions, we had been 
bucotuciously lulled ; and, with everything complete 
ixcept a watcrskin, which cither some wild beast or 
me uf our own people had carried olf, we prepared for 
r departure. 

Before wo started we formed the acquaintance of 
lODie of t3ie indigenous children of the soU, who, 
Dec ourselves, lliought the tliteket and wide-spread- 



24 KATIVE8 OF SOUDAN. 

ing tree the most agreeable home in Soudan. Our 
new friends, who evidently preferred a tangled mass 
of matted hair to the soft folds of a cumbrous 
turban, and a well-polished and shining skin to a 
superfluity of clothing, gave us a hearty welcome 
in their jungle ; and, what we equally appreciated, 
an abundance of fresh, frothy camels' milk for our 
breakfast. In return for this hospitality we made 
them a present of tobacco, and I am quite sure that 
the maligned weed was never welcomed with greater 
delight, or stuffed between the glittering teeth with 
more intense zest, than in the wilds near the Bahad. 

The Arabs in Soudan^ though indifferent to the 
pipe, are passionately fond of the quid; even little 
boys have their tattooed cheeks distended with this 
favourite narcotic, whose native relish they daintily 
flavour by the addition of a moiety of white wood 
ashes. 

Warm and glowing was the atmosphere when we 
set out, and warm and glowing it continued as we 
joimieyed on. For several hours our route extended 
across an austere, furrowed and broken tract, where 
the poor camel at every few steps plunged into a hole 
or lost its balance in an empty ditch. The teasing 
reminiscences of former abundance only increased the 
present want, and the eye wandered in vain over the 
blighted plain to espy a grateful well or a grassy 
spot. We met on our way a good number of Arabs 
who were returning to their desert homes from the 
market of Matomma^ where they had been mak- 
ing purchases of horses, cows, honey, and wheat. 



SIMPLICITY OF DRESS. 25 

They were all wiry and atMetic figures, mounted 
on dromedaries and unsaddled horses, with their 
dishevelled hair streaming in the breeze, and their 
robust and muscular busts as low as the waist ex- 
posed to the full play of the sun's dazzling rays. 
Their arms consisted of a long spear, an oval shield 
of hippopotamus' hide, and a straight double-edged 
sword, which was fastened on the pommel of the 
saddle, or hung suspended from a leather strap across 
the shoulder. On the whole these tenants of the 
desert, unaffected by the vices which have corrupted 
the Bedouin in Syria and Lower Egypt, in their 
appearance, haughty air^ accoutrements and dress, 
realized most graphically the prophetic announce- 
ment : " He will be a wild man." Towards the 
decline of noon we came to a little wood, and, with- 
out consulting our grumbling Arabs, coaxed our 
camels on their knees, and sought shelter in the 
gloomy thicket. 

Towards evening we were off again. The road, 
which before had been difficult and dangerous on 
account of the many yawning clefts, now became 
still more perilous and uncomfortable^ owing to the 
many bushy and thorny trees which, at every few 
steps, threatened the traveller with the fate of 
Mohammed's coffin. As evening advanced and the 
darkness increased in intensity, half-a-dozen of our 
camels got entangled in the copses into which they 
had stupidly rushed to pluck some leaves; and 
before they could be extricated, our boxes came 
tumbling to the ground, while the camel-drivers 



26 EOUOH ROAD. 

exhausted their lungs in vile abuse. Half of our loads 
being already on the ground the rest soon followed ; 
so, our camels having selected the camping ground, 
we yielded to their good taste, and around a blazing 
fire rearranged our luggage, and bedless and cover- 
less fell asleep on the hard and clodded soil. Long 
before daylight we were again mounted on our sub- 
missive quadrupeds, wending our doleful path between 
gum, doum, and the wide-spreading acacia towards 
the river Rahad^ where we intended to take in a 
supply of water to last us till we reached Kedaref^ 
a distance of three days' journey. I had hitherto, 
considering the toil and fatigue to which we were 
incessantly exposed, enjoyed tolerably good health; 
and, by practising a little caution and abstinence I 
anticipated a continuance of the same blessing till we 
got into the mountains of Abyssinia; that very 
morning, however, I felt such a depression and weari- 
ness of body and spirit, that, notwithstanding our want 
of provisions, I could not muster sufficient enei^ 
to level my gun at the flocks of pigeons and guinea- 
fowl which cackled and cooed as if they were im- 
conscious of fear, and an exception to the coyness of 
their species. 

At mid-day we again approached the putrid waters 
of the exhausted llahad, and alighted in a wood 
close to its banks, where groups of uncouth-looking 
Arabs sat feasting round a camel that had broken 
its legs. Several of our party, who were in the 
excruciating agonies of ague, immediately threw 
themselves on the bare ground, which, instead of 



dlminkhing, only enhanced the cold shiver, and in- I 
lwiai6ed the quivering sensation, of their fevered | 
frame, I immediately hastened to unpack the medi- I 
cine chest, and with emetics and copious doses of | 
ipecocuanhu, sought to arrest the sufierings of my | 
companions as well as my own incipient syinptoma I 
J of a disease, which I knew to be frequently malignant 1 

■ in its character and fatal in its effects. 
Emetics and hot water were, however, alike un- 
nvuling ; and, unconscious of all around, and in a I 
kind of ddirious stupor, I sustained for about four I 
houis the prostrating pai'oxysuis of cold and heat, I 
which on the return of sensibility left me so weak, | 
depressed, and sulTering, that, in the language of I 
anotliKr missionary, 1 longed " to depart and be with | 
Chmt." I 

_ To protract our stay in that malarious jinigle, I 

^^ haunted by the lion, and the no less violent and ] 
^L untamed roving Arab, was more dangerous than to ' 
^B proceed on our journey ; and we had, therefore, no 
^Haltcruative but to be resigned to the misery which we 
^^^Tjould not avert, and the distracting agonies which we 

oould not alleviate. Poor Coruelius, who was chatter- J 
I ing as if chilled by a Siberian frost, enlisted the ' 
^^L]ivcUc£t interest of our canicl-drivers, and they all 
^^Bfully anticipated that death woidd soon terminate his 
^^■AlfTeringB, and, urcording to Soudan custom, enrich J 
^^Vthem with his scanty wardrobe. Our journey in the ] 
^^■jEVening and morning was still endurable, but wheu I 
^^■tbe fii-iy rays of a vertical sun began to stream down J 
^^Bapon us our agony was so intense that, compared^ 



28 KEDAREF. 

to it, the torture of a treadmill would have been a 
delicious relaxation. At mid-day we usually alighted 
in the shade of the granite rocks, which at various 
intervals like watchtowers dotted the plain, or under 
a tree which marked the spot where a previous en- 
campment had interred its dead. On the eve of the 
sixth day we made our resting-place on a grassy plain 
near Kedaref^ close to several shallow wells whose 
brackish liquid afforded our parched and blistered lips 
ineffiable draughts. Early in the morning (as I dreaded 
another attack of ague), to the annoyance of half-a- 
dozen ostriches who were quietly pecking their 
morning repast in the shrubs and herbage around, 
I mounted, and, accompanied by my sick Arab lad 
and the owner of two camels, hastened to Suk Abou 
Sin, a locality which derives its name from being 
the principal mart between the Atbara and Rahad, 
Galahat and Khartum. In conformity with the un- 
restrained etiquette of Soudan I rode straight to the 
enclosure, in which stood the huts of Michel, a C!opt, 
the only Christian in this district. Here, contrary to the 
inclination of his attendants, who, judging firom my 
ragged garb and meagre sallow looks, were disposed 
to question my respectability, I was compelled to 
force an entrance within the thorny fence. Little 
Michel> swathed and swaddled in unbleached calico 
and rainbow-coloured cotton shawls, looked the very 
type of all African diseases. I sympathetically 
inquired whether I could offer him any medicine, 
and to my surprise and disgust he requested me to 
bandage his arm which two days before had been 



MICHEL THE COPT. 29 

splintered by coming into too serious collision with 
the hard skull of a negro. The black fellow, who 
stood close by, so grinned and distorted his ebony 
countenance whilst his unfeeling taskmaster narrated 
his mishap, that, in spite of my own ills, I could 
scarcely retain a becoming gravity. I promised to 
render him all the assistance in my power, and then 
stretched myself on an angareb^ where, for above 
two hours, I endured the cold of an iceberg in a 
place where the thermometer was above 110 degrees 
in the shade. 



30 



CHAPTER III. 

Kedaref — Matrimonial Edict — Cure of Fever — Obstinate 
Camel — Close to a Boa — Doka — Intercourse with Sheikhs — 
Beautiful Scenery — Savage Inhabitants — Matamma — 
Sheikh's Iludeness — Change — Evening Chat — Lev^ of the 
Sheikh — Novel Interment — Uninhabited Country — ^Wochnee 
— Forcible Detention — Pictiu-esque Landscape — Hospice in 
the Forest — Tschelga — Conspicuous Encampment — Religion 
of the Kamants. 

Kedaref^ which unites in itself the repulsive vices of 
Mohammedanism, with all the revolting pollutions of 
Paganism, was, at the time of our arrival, in a state of 
the greatest consternation in consequence of an edict 
from the Cadi^ in which this administrator of the 
Moslem code enjoined that all girls above nine, and all 
boys above thirteen should, under a severe corporeal 
and pecuniary penalty, within a fortnight remove the 
scandal which the district had contracted, by form- 
ing at once lawful alliances. The object of this 
wise expounder of the Koran, it was well known, 
had more to do with the piastres than the virtue 
and reformation of the people ; still, as no one 
in that lawless country dared to impugn the authority 
of a Cadi, who had the Kashef and his hungry troops 
at his beck, the hue and cry was soon hushed in the 
universal merriment of hymeneal festivity. A few of 



MATRIMONIAL MANIA. 31 

the more respectable people who did not wish to be 
driven — to use a fashionable term — into misallianceSy 
applied to me for protection against this new method 
of extortion, but neither my health nor the character 
of the people allowed me to sympathize with them in 
their plight. This novel mode of taxation proved 
most successful, and the greedy Cadi, who luxuriated 
in the accumulation of piastres extorted by the multi- 
plicity of marriages and an equal proportion of 
divorces, was already revolving in his mind some 
new scheme for enlarging his income, when the report 
of his extraordinary matrimonial mania reached 
Khartum^ and, to the delight of the Soudanees, he 
was removed from office. 

Abstinence from almost all food, and eighty grains 
of quinine during four successive days, subdued the 
fever, and enabled me to leave that lazar-house of 
vice, depravity, and crime. We started at noon, and 
proceeded in a south-easterly direction over an undu- 
lating country towards the village Assar ; where, in the 
house of a Copt, we found a comfortable and hos- 
pitable night's refuge. From hence to Boka our 
route was diversified by forests and thickets, abrupt 
rising mounds, and fantastically shaped basalt rocks. 
Deer, guinea-fowl, and doves, abounded everywhere ; 
but we had such an aversion to animal food, that 
we gladly preferred the coffee-pot to the flesh-pot; 
and a thin piece of tough bread to the most inviting 
venison. 

Near Boka I had one of those narrow escapes from 
a serious accident, which on that, as on many former 
occasions, clearly indicated that a gracious Providence 



32 CLOSE TO A BOA. 

was watching over the safety, and directing the steps 
of the missionary, through the wild and dreary 
jungles of Africa. It was just about noon, the time 
which we usually devoted to rest, when one of our 
camels, with the wonted obstinacy and stupidity 
which these brutes occasionally manifest, rushed with 
two large boxes slung across its back into a dense 
thicket. A huge branch intercepted its progress, 
and brought cases and camel down into the shrubs 
and grass which grew around the gnarled tree. My 
own vicious animal in a spirit of emulation bolted 
after its leader, and in spite of all my efforts to 
check its impetuosity by tightening the rope round 
its muzzle, the unruly beast dashed through creepers 
and bushes till, at the heel of its companion, 
a jerk hurled me and the luggage down upon 
the prickly copse. Several of our people instantlj 
hastened to my rescue, and to their horror, they dis- 
covered close to my bleeding hands and face an 
affrighted boa, which for an instant glistened in the 
refracted rays and then disappeared. They all now 
thought that I must enjoy the special favour of 
Heaven, and whilst I was grateful to a gracious God 
for the miraculous escape from a dreadful fate, our 
Arabs abused their camels in a strain of unique 
epithets, in which the word Yehudi — though no one of 
them, I am certain, had ever seen a Jew — was, as the 
concrete of everything revolting, emphatically applied. 
Evening brought us to Doha, a gloomy, wild-look- 
ing spot, where a few straggling huts stood concealed 
from the traveller's intrusion, amongst ravines and 
hills which here diversify the landscape. Ali Kaake/^ 



AN AIRY LODOINO, 33 

Governor of tlie district, who, together with 

tfiuiJ/em SaatI, a Copt Governmeut's emploi/e, had 

lecled this place on account of its salubrity aud 

lerable water for a home during the dry season, 

xived us with a cordiality as unexpected as it was 

elcuinc. The hall of justice, a square rough build- 

, constructed of the slender stems of the beautiful 

ui, or incense tree, lashed together by a number- 

\ variety of leafy creepers, and covered with straw 

1 brushwood, was at once assigned to us for our 

abode. There were to this airy tenement two door. 

less wide entrances from opposite ends, which at first 

tadc me a little doubtful about our safety ; but, on 

sction, I felt confident that our host would not 

jse his guests to a nocturnal attack of robbers or 

ild bt-asts, and so, committing myself and party 

I the giuirdian care of Ilim whose presence is not 

nfined to tiuie or place, I fell into a most pleasant 

Bc] agreeable slumber, from which I did not awake 

1 dawu the following morning. 

With sunrise various chiefs from the Atbara and 

deserts bounded by the highlands of Abyssinia 

inie. cither to settle accounts or to dilate on maraud. 

expeditious. Our unexpected presence excited 

some dismal forebodings in the throbbing heart of a 

SAeiiA or two, who, conscious of their enormities 

1 crimes, thought they recognised in us the spies of 

[ Egyptian Government, and heralds of their ira- 

ndiog doom. Our numerous boxes, and the exhi* 

ion of several Arabic Bibles, however, convinced 

1 of the peaceable character of our mission ; and 



34 CONVERSION OP PAOANS. 

I was assured by one and another chief that, if I 
passed through their territory, both they and their 
people would be my obedient slaves. Muallem Saad^ 
a most kind, amiable, and thoroughly good man, a 
wonderful rarity among the degraded and unprincipled 
Copts, related to the assembled desert magnates what 
I had told him about Missions, and the wonderful 
changes they had effected in refining the corrupt 
nature, in ennobling the depraved heart, and in in- 
structing the benighted mind of men, who once pee- 
sessed not the sUghtest knowledge of God or heaven. 
They thought that this was a most meritorious work, 
and in tones of evident sincerity, they all offered me 
their spears and trusty warriors if I would go and 
convert their neighbours the ShankgaUcm, I told 
them that a religion which is true and divine must 
convince the mind and win the heart, without the use 
of violence or force, and that this method of propa- 
gating the doctrines of the Angeel had been enjoined 
by Christ and practised by his followers. "Our 
prophet," said the old scribe of the Kashef, " has not 
adopted the example of * Nebi Isau ' and this is the 
reason that Islamism despatches more hypocrites to 
hell than true Moslems to heaven." 

Our short stay at Dokay where we were most hos- 
pitably entertained, and enjoyed the luxury of good 
air and an abundance of drinkable water, quite reno- 
vated our exliaustcd frames ; and with fresh vigour 
and energy we again tied the halter around the 
muzzles of our camels and resumed betimes in the 
morning our march through forest;^ and dense jungles 



^ 



towania Gedahat, or, ixs it is called by the Abyssinianajl 
Matamma. Three hours' ride brought us to Daffleisht\ 
vrhcrc the violence of the heat compelled us to ae«k 
refuge from the noontide sun in a. hut, which charity 
baa taught the uRtives to attach to every settlement, 
fw the accommodation of the wearied and exhausted 
wayfarer. The floor of this hospice, which numerous 
nests of ants had furrowed and raised for their ownj 
domicile, did not ofi'er a very safe retreat; but thsq 
Sheikh, accompanied by a detachment of hia harem, 
brought angarebs* and large bundles of rushes; and 
these few articles of African furniture soon ditfnscd . 
OD air of comfort and cleanliness around our tcm*| 
porar}' shelter. 

Past uoon we mounted again. Our path, which 
lay between forests of incense, tamarind, and syca^ 
more trees at every opening, unfolded to us the varied ■ 
[mspcct of fields and plains, upland glades on which'l 
tho shepherd tended hia flock, and round hills wjj 
which *ome Arabs had reared their huts. This whola 
region, apparently so rich in natural beauty, and sal 
bomilifully provided with nature's most attractive 
gifts, is surrounded by an atmosphere of death, and 
inhabited by tribes of mamuding and predatory 
babits. On my return from Abyssinia I passed this 
some route, and on several spots I saw the mangled 



* An ftn^rub is n kind of rude couch, conBtnictod ( 
iW« ado and two cnwua polm, wliicli nre sajipurted an woe 
i fiuitcn«Ml tngctltor by thuu^ of cow-liides ; wl 
d driod in the mm it forma &n airy and coiufcrtaU 



36 CHILDREN OF THE TIOER. 

remains and the clotted gore of the poor victims who 
had been murdered the night previous by the £eni 
Nxmmer, the children of the tiger as they are appro- 
priately styled, who were hovering in the neighbour- 
hood, plundering peaceable villages, and killing every 
traveller whom business led along that road. We 
saw several spies watching in the leafy branches of 
the trees, but the cheery songs of my escort, the 
rapid fire of my revolver, and the report of my being 
a friend of King Theodores, whose liege subjects 
these freebooters claim to be, kept the Tiger and his 
followers at bay, and secured me a safe passage 
through that blood-stained territory. 

A cool and refreshing breeze, which sprang up 
at sunset, induced us to continue our march. 
Our camel-owners readily seconded our wish, and, 
till night closed in upon us, our progress was satis- 
factory to all ; but now, as the darkness became more 
intense, and the tortuous path lined with prickly 
shrubs and thorny trees, grew narrower, we were 
obliged, out of regard to our clothing and skin, to 
put a stop to our day's journey. The next day, at 
noon, wearied and fatigued, we reached Matamma, 
the last village on the Abyssinian frontier. Here 
we thought our hardships and toils would, if not 
terminate, be at least mitigated ; but, to our sur- 
prise we found the Sheikh rude and sulky, and all 
his wild Tongrouree subjects in arms, and excited to 
the highest pitch of frenzy. Upon inquiry we dis- 
covered that the panic which had turned the heads 
of old and young, women and children, was caused 



SHEIKn S RIJIIEITESS. 



87' 



the dread of a Tigrean invasion to avenge tlie 
ilh of three hundred coiintrymen and co-rehgiou- 
who a fortnight before in an attempt to 
plunder the market, had fallen into an ambush, 
ind were mercilessly slaughtered by their watchful 
iDemies. 
The Sheikh, an inveterate drunkard, to whom we 
inounced our arrival, and preferred a retjuest for 
t hut to shelter us from the blazing sun and the 
ierds of savage hyenas which prowl about the place, 
(bturued us for an answer, that we might hve under 
fee trees, and if tliat was not good enough, we miglit 
3 and be killed ou the road to Wachnee. 
Not at all repulsed by this inhospitable message, 
[ despatched our Arab servant, armed with my fir- 
nan, ou epistle from the Viceroy of Egypt, and other 
official documents ; and, in less time than sufBced to 
ttp a cup of coffee in the hut of a friendly native, the 
[nidable papers, which, I believe, no one could 
!ed, 8cciuT3d US a place of refuge, and an official 
isit from the wild chief and a troop of his suspicious 
(oking savage warriors. 

ft^ie evening the Slicikh sent us his aecre- 

rologer and fakccr, or chaplain, who made 

B of inquiries about our journey, and the object 

! sought to achieve. They all pretended to be strict 

homcdans, but their conversation convinced rao 

lat they had only been inocidated with the gross 

vices of Islamiam, whilst in practice they still adhered 

B the vagaries and idle superstitions of their Pagan 

They were particularly interested in the 



^^ the vagaries i 

1^ 



4 
I 



38 I^EVEE AT MATi^MMA. 

subject of slavery^ and thought it very silly that we 
should pay wages to servants when for that money we 
could purchase the handsomest GaUa in the market. 
Several other persons subsequently joined us^ and as 
they began to indulge in hydromel, meressa, and all 
the boisterous concomitants which characterize the 
loathsome orgies of barbarians, we quitted the cool 
and open court for the sultry and suffocating hut. 

The second day after our arrival, ambassadors came 
from Palambaraa Gelmont^ the governor of T^chelga^ 
whose rule extends to the Tougrouree country, to 
congratulate the Sheikh on his victory over the 
robber bands, and at the same time aldo to renew 
afresh the slender and hypocritical bond of friend- 
ship and amity. On hearing this favourable intelli- 
gence, I repaired to the Divan to ascertain the 
truth of the report. The council-chamber, an 
oblong thatched bam, I found so crowded with 
subordinate chiefs and their half-naked attendants, 
that it required considerable physical exertion to 
force one's way through the agitated mass of closely- 
packed oleaginous heads and shoulders, towards the 
dais, or raised seat of the chief. As at our first 
meeting so also now, the dreaded Jumma welcomed 
me with unwonted civility; and anticipating that I 
should share in the satisfaction which was legible in 
the sharp features of his swarthy countenance, he ac- 
quainted me with the good tidings he had received from 
Abyssinia, " and now," continued he, with elated voice, 
" I will secure you camels, and expedite your departure 
to the land of the Kaffirs (i.e. infidels), where your 



NOVEL INTERMENT. 



3<J 



iks may improve, or perLaps change the creed of 
hose idolaters." Delighted with the prospect of a 
rcdy departure from a place in whose malarious 
nd putrescent atmosphere, vultures, hyenas, and 
fcugrourees only can exist, I pushed my way back 
jiigh the steaming groups of greasy natives, and 
ried to the market, where, assisted by the Sidtan's 
Ktetary, as the Sheikh is pompously styled, I 
ngagcd camels, and made arrangements for our 
lepartnrc to ff'ochnee. 

Previous to starting, the sottish Jumnia, in a fit of 
[enerosity, sent us two large bags of flour, and also 
several fowls as a present; and, gratefid for our 
deliverance from that horrid place, we hastened away 
I fast as our patient animals could carry us. 
On our way we passed close to the spot where the 
ugled remains of the cowardly invaders who had 
'. fallen victims to their own rapacity and love of 
dunder lay exposed to a broiling and burning sun. 
3ie sight was most revolting, nnd, notwithstanding the 
'dening tnBuence of barbarism, I filt a cold aguish 
bnsation creep over my heart as I heard the shouts 
r delight bursting from the camel-drivers when an 
or vulture sailed over okxt heads holding n 
olackened limb or a foul piece of human flesh sus- 
pended in his beak. 

From here to JFocknee, the whole surface, occu- 
lying about sixty miles, is utterly destitute of all 
{DtnoD habitations~-of all signs of human life. The 
bn and tiger, the buffalo and rhinoceros, the elephant 
Kid giralTc are the sole occupants of the whole ri-giou. 



I 




4 • 



40 UNINHABITED COUNTKY. 

and the traveller from every overhanging diff can 
sec the more bulky of these dwellers in the fomt £; 
leisurely enjoying their noonday siesta on the bank 
soQic stream, or beneath a clump of shady trees. 
caravans which for about six months in the year 
and repass this solitary route, invariably travel 
large parties to ensure mutual protection against ^ik^*-' 
attack of predatory Touffrourees, and the no Ml|r.y 
dangerous assaults of wild beasts. As our own fntf'P 
was not very strong we inarched almost withonl: 
intermission, by day and night, an effort which, iH . 
our exhausted condition, made our limbs ache, aa|. ..^ 
our heads throb with most agonizing pain. 

On the second morning we descended through a 
long range of hills down into a steep, green wilder^ 
ness ; and from thence, between groves of bamboo^ 
ebony, and different species of euphorbia, we rode 
on to Wochnee, which we reached ere the sun had 
mounted above the liorizon. I had heard so much of 
Wochnee, that I expected to see a large village, 
occupied by an industrious, busy population ; but, to 
my sur|)rise, I found that the grand market of 
Western Abyssinia's trade is periodically held in 
the depth of a dense forest, wliere, even during the 
driest season, the luxuriant vegetation hemmed in 
by steep, towering mountain-ranges, exhales from its 
humid soil a pestilential miasma. A few miserable 
huts for the accommodation of the grim collectors 
of the duty, and the distillers of dcich and dallah^ 
were the only habitations visible in this wooded soli- 
tude. My companion, who had preceded me with 



POBCIBLE DETENTION. 41 

letters, in order to prevent any possible detention ip 
the lowlands, I found here in one of these miserable 
sheds suffering from fever and a coup-de-aoleiL 

The fate of a German, sent out last year by the 
Bishop of Jerusalem, who here found his grave, as did 
his son some days later at Tachelga^ prompted me to 
expedite our journey up to the highlands ; but, to 
our disappointment, when we were ready to quit 
that steaming jungle and hotbed of disease, the 
Negad Mas, or chief of the Custom, interdicted our 
onward movement without the previous sanction of 
the King or the express order of the governor of 
the province. We had no inclination to submit to 
the penance imposed upon us by a sullen official ; 
but as to all our remonstrances, he only reiterated 
that it was a command of the Negoos, and we were 
obliged to chew the cud of our disappointment 
in patient resignation. On the fourteenth day, 
the impatiently-expected order at length arrived, and 
without any delay we hired donkeys, and, accom- 
panied by a soldier from the JPalambaraa and a chief 
of the KamantSy set out for Tachelga. 

Our route, which was nearly due east, lay over 
huge mountains and wooded plains, rugged ravines ai^^ 
frowning rocks, so variegated and picturesque, that, 
in the beauty of each successive scene, the admiring 
eye imparted fresh vigour and elasticity to the wearied 
and exhausted fs^me. A few isolated rocks, with 
their flat summits, concealed in white misty clouds, 
Uke castellated towers, rose far above this magni- 
ficent landscape. The most conspicuous of all, the 



42 TREAT IN THE FOREST. 

Zar Amba and Entchet Amba^ are at present used as 
State prisons, but formerly they were the homes of 
captive royal princes. 

At Walee Dubba^ a deep valley, enclosed on all sides 
by lofty ranges of mountains, we stumbled upon fo^ 
midable arrays of large daUah jars, a beer made of 
sprouting barley, which Christian and Kamant women 
offered to the traveller for sale. It was quite an un- 
expected surprise to see the soUtude of an African 
wilderness enUvened with the gay song and sprightly 
converse of a number of young lasses, who, dad 
in rustUng leather petticoats, moved about amongst 
the various groups resting under the leafy foliage, 
with a grace and innate modesty which eUcited admi- 
ration, whilst at the same time it forbad all* unbe- 
coming Uberty. 

Our people having had to carry the boxes on their 
own shoulders, as the road was very steep and narrow, 
I ordered for them three gumbos of the favourite 
beverage, but on offering to pay, the soldier, and also 
several officers of the Custom, who transacted all 
their business in a gloomy gorge, peremptorily en* 
joined on the poor women not to accept a single salt 
from persons who were the guests of the Palambaras. 
Their stem looks and fierce threats terrified the 
timid creatures, and in accents full of disappointment 
and fear, they implored us to forget an error, for 
which they plaintively pleaded poverty as their excuse. 
We removed all their apprehensions on this score, and 
to compensate them for the loss they had incurred 
we gave for each gumbo — ^instead of a salt — a string 



KAMAST RELIGION. 



I of glass beads, a liberality which Ibey ackDowledgcd 

in a copious effusion of unaffected blessings. 

On ihe third day we readied Thc/iel^^a, a large 

■JHSTket-place, surrounded by detached huts and a few 

Itiolated juniper groves, distinguished by the towering 

r ipnbol of the Christian's sanctuary. There being no 

' bospicc to receive a stranger except the small huts of 

tie vendors of delcA and dallah, which were not the 

Qinst inviting abodes, we unpacked our tent, and on a 

kight, conspicuous for many miles, pitched our canvass 

liome. 

The report that Franks had arrived soon spread 
Ihtough the market, and the Cmagi, the hill we occu- 
pied, in a very few hours became the centre of attrac- 
tiim It) .lews. Christians, and Kamanls. Tlie latter 
sect, who live almost exclusively in the province of 
Jkolf/jrfl, are, on account of tlieir indifference to the 
^kligious prejudices which one superstitious system 
Hbs copied from the other, very much despised and 
Busrepresented. 1 tpiestioned a good number about 
^BKir knowledge of God, and their hopes of eternity ; 
Bat they had so little to communicate, beyond a belief 
Hi a Supreme iteing and the existence of a future 
^■dIv, that the most simple query caused them the 
Htmost wonder and surprise. They have some 
Hrieat«, and, at stated times, repair to certain rocks to 
Heribrm secret acts of devotion ; but, on the whole, 
■bcir system of belief is devoid of every human iugre* 
Bieitt and every Divine revelation, of every sensible 
■Jliject of adoration to impress the senses, and every 
Ibiritual truth to touch the heart. Their langimgo 



44 FEMALE OBMAMEIITS. 

is Amiaric, but amongst themselves they speak in the 
Falasha tongue; and the striking Jewish features of 
many a man and woman amongst them inclined ns 
to credit the report which assigns to them a Jewish 
origin. 

According to Abyssinian tradition, the King of 
I^ffre, soon after his conversion to Christianity, crossed 
the Taccazyy and invaded Semien and Amhara. Here 
he met a people who were neither Pagans nor Chris- 
tians, a marvel which aroused the monarch's curiosity, 
and he inquired what they believed ; to which, in a 
laconic style, they replied in their own dialect Kamant, 
or Kam Ant, i.e., as thou, from whence they obtained 
their present appellation. They are, as a body, an 
industrious, energetic, and active race, residing in dis- 
tricts where they have fine pasture for their cattle, 
and fertile soil to reward their field labour. Many of 
the women daily come to Gondar to sell wood, and, at 
first, it was a strange sight to see these young females 
—clad in simple leather petticoats, and equally simple 
earrings of wood, which, according to the orthodox 
fashion, must be weighty enough to distend in a few 
years the flap of the ear down to the shoulders — walk- 
ing about in the market, or groaning under a heavy 
burden of wood, utterly unconcerned about everything 
except the graceful ornament that dangled round their 
neck. 

A few years ago. King Theodoros, in the flush of 
victory and the ardour of zeal, intended to compel 
this inoffensive race to accept the Christian faith ; but 
when, in a Grand Council, the plan was proposed, 



MISTAKEN ZEAL. 45 

several chiefs reminded his Majesty that if that 
scheme were carried out, the Kamants might become 
proud, and bring no more fuel to Gondar; and this 
being a matter of such very grave importance, the 
project was at once abandoned, and the poor people 
were saved by their toil and activity from persecution 
or the acceptance of a hated and idolatrous creed. 



4 

I 



46 



CHAPTER IV. 

« 

Visit to the PaJambaras — Extensive View — Judgment Hall — 
Prompt Justice — Strange Bequest — Hospitality — Orders 
from the Royal Camp— CW on the QiuinqtLe — A Storm — 
Intelligence — Unguarded Camp — ^March of Troops — Per- 
verted Taste of the Women — Arrival in the Royal Camp- 
Audience of the King — ^Visit from a Great Chief — ^Passioii 
Week — Military Parade— Royal Interest in Missions. 

We had now been five days, at licAefya, and, as we 
did not know how much longer we might be detained 
in that place before we obtained the royal permission 
to take the necessary measures to achieve the object 
which had prompted our long and toilsome journey, I 
thought it advisable to visit the Governor of the pro- 
vince, who, as we were informed, stood high in the 
royal favour. The residence of this chief being in the 
mountains at the extreme north-west comer of the 
province of Tschelga^ a distance of seven hours from 
our camping ground, I mounted at a very early hour, 
and, accompanied by three natives, rode over the plain 
towards the Amba, or natural fort of the Palambaras. 
The path was easy, and the north wind, which blew in 
cool guSts down from the mountains, refreshed the 
atmosphere and expedited our progress. Towards ten 
o'clock, after many a tedious and fatiguiLs; scn^mble 



RXTENSHT! VIEW. 



47 I 



■iDter 



OTO* almost perpendicular rocks and heights, we 
emerged through a juniper and euphorbia forest on 
a plateau, above which, encircled by dizzy abysses, 
rose the furrowed and frowning Amda. 

We immediately dismounted, and, emulating the 
good example of other Wsitors, shouted to the soldiers ' 
and domestics, who were enjoying their siesta behind 
dislodged rocks, or taking an airing on the edge of 
fii(homless precipices, thnt they shoiUd open the gates. 
The appearance and complexion of the stranger created 
quit« a sensation, and a whole troop of lazy fellows, 
with straioing eyes and gaping mouths, looked at me 
across the ravine as if a being from a different planet 
had suddenly tumbled amongst them. I reiterated | 
my request, and at last one of the savages more cou- 
rageous than the rest moved out of the line of ter- 
rified gazers, to announce my arrival. During this 
itenral, to the amusement of the subordinate go- 
lors and their suites, who could not comprehend 
why a man shoidd walk when he could leisurely squat 
doHTi and rest, I took a stroU over this upper plain to 
ive a full sight of the matchless scene, on which 
eye 8o delightedly rested. Prom the altitude 
which we stood, we had a range to our vision 
hich must have embraced more than loO miles in 
circiunference. There, on oar left, towards the south- 
it lay the rich plain of Dembea, bounded by the 
id walt'rs of the Tzana, and the Alpine range of ' 
le Guna, with its summit 14,670 feet above the level ] 
the sea, clearly defined towards a blue, cloudless I 
irizon ; on our right, close on the rear of the Jmba, 
a north-westerly direction, as if arrested in tUc" 



48 RESIDENCE OF THE PALAMBARAS. 

heaving and surging by the flat of Omnipotence, rose 
out of an agitated and restless ocean of green foliage, 
the wave-like mounds and hills of Armatffioho inter* 
sected by wooded valleys^ and dark chasms, whilst on 
the outskirts of this magnificent region, faintly dis- 
cernible through the hazy atmo^here, extended be- 
yond the eyes' ken, an unsightly and desolate waste 
of blight and sterility. My ramble was brought to a 
close by a messenger whom the Palambaras had de- 
spatched to conduct me across the narrow path which 
united the Amba with the plateau. Arrived on 
the opposite side, we passed a low gateway con- 
structed of massive blocks of wood, and then, on the 
edge of the yawning precipice, which was protected 
by a parapet of loose stone, we scaled the height of 
this rampart of nature, and, between rows of ragged 
servants and lazy soldiers, made our way to the 
audience-chamber of the Governor of Western Abys- 
sinia. 

The building in which all the business of an 
important province was transacted resembled in 
appearance a circular hay-stack on a magnified 
scale. At my entrance, every inch of ground was 
crowded with officials, visitors, and litigants, who, 
by being closely packed together, so effectually ex- 
cluded every ray of light which might have forced 
its way through the interstices of the wicker frame- 
work that, in my endeavours to steer safely through 
the invisible throng towards the al^a of the chief, 
I stumbled over several greasy and slippery figures, 
and might perhaps have ended my adventurous 
walk in the dark on the heads of half-a-dozen indig- 



ADMIMSTRATIOX OF .IU9TICE. 4!> ] 

iwtit and mortifictl Shmus, had not the Palam- 
iorat fxleniliid hia hand, and drawn me towards 
A small recess which he occupied. After a few desul- 
loij (piestions of no importance, the Court again 
Ksumcd its sitting, nnd plaintitTg and defendants in 
lozena leaped on their legs to display their forensic 
■kill. The boisteroiia debates of the passionate liti- 
gants did not in the least disturb the calm dignity of 
the Judge, or deter him from pronouncing a prompt, 
and, I believe, also correct decision, in the most 
■entangled cases. Now and then a disappointed 
,ttiitor ventured to express his dissent from tha 
verdict, a presumption vrhich led to his imme-^ 
diate ejection from the Court, and not unfrequently 
A sound application of the hippopotamus whip to his 
Dudc back ; whilst, on the contrary, the gainer in tlie 
SctioD threw himself on all-fours, and with his droop- 
ig forehead on the foul rushes which served for a 
oirpct, gave vent to the overflowing gratitude of his 
heart in a long string of unmeaning and sham 
bicssifigs. 

The incessant wrangling, close atmosphere, and offouT 
«ve odours which pervaded this hall of jnstice made 
my fevcrijsU frame long to breathe again the invigorat- 
ing breeze I heard sighing among the dry leaves nnd 
.1>IHliches woven in the eireiilar walla of the hut ; but 
the difficulty was how to effect my object without 
■creating confusion, or, what was equally difficult, with- 
out bringing my heavy boots in collision with some 
naked feet and swinging bodies. I signified my in- 



I 



50 HOSPITALITY. 

tention to the PalambaraSy who, instead of conceding 
to the request, waved his hand to half a score of sol- 
diers, and in an instant, high and low, shums and 
officers, were helter-skelter, with the exception of a 
priest, who held a brass cross in his hand, ejected 
from the court. 

Being now alone, the worthy chief seized a pair di 
EngUsh double-barreled pistols, which lay chaif^ 
beneath his pillow, and in a kind of peremptoiy 
style requested me to explain to him the manu&cture 
of such beautiful arms. I was about to pour forth 
my whole stock of knowledge on this subject, when 
one of my Abyssinian companions, who had been in 
Syria and Egypt, interrupted me, and, in a strain 
so confused and bewildering, launched out on 
steam, telegraphs, and cannons, that I was not 
at all astonished to see the poor priest making the 
sign of the cross, and the Palambaras himself own 
that work done by the seething, bubbling, and whirl- 
ing of water and fire could not be free from the 
agency of the ^^ gente a basso*' I endeavoured to 
slide the conversation into a more serious groove, and 
had partly succeeded, when suddenly a procession of 
half-a-dozen slaves brought in a wicker basket of 
bread and black fiery sauce, concocted of capsicums, 
onions, dried peas, and other palatable ingredients. 
Seven hours' ride and a long fast had given me 
and my companions an excellent appetite, and 
a crouching Galla had to ply his unwashed hands 
for a considerable time in the hot paste, in order 



STRANOE BEQCEST. 

to eoften a suificieat qiianlity of leatheiy caki 
tf his master's faiuishcd giicsta. During 
lepajl, the Palaviharas eyed me very keenly, and 
on |)ercciving that, I guessed tlie import of his 
llMe, he candidly confessed that his eyes had been 
rivetctl on my printed calico Bhirf, which he thought, 
M I had an abundance of upper garments, I could 
Well leave him as n memento of our friendship. I 
nsdily promised to accede to this request ; but 
inslcfld of divesting myself then and there of this iin- 
portant article of dress, as he anticipated, I postponed 
to satisfy his cupidity till my return to Tschelga. lie 
instantly onlercd two servants to accompany me, and, 
with many iterated asseverations that he would ensure' 
mp a favourable reception by the King, which I sub. 
*equently learnt was mere brag, 1 retraced my stciw 
loour lonely camping ground on the Cosagi. 

Suspense, impatience, and anxiety were already be>.: 
gioning to make our hearts sink, when, quite nncxpect- 
wily, a messenger brought us tidings of his Majesty's 
fttorn from the Tigri campaign, and an order that 
we should, without delay, repair to the royal camp at 
lamgii't on the eastern shore of the Tsatia. My com- 
panion being too weak and indisposed for a twenty. 
eight hours' unintermitted ride, 1 left him in charge 
of the luggage, and, by the light of myriads of 
Eparkltng stars, proceeded n-ith some trusty natives 
on my doleful journey. The grey dawii was just 
unveiling the dark ridges of the Bcgemeder mountain- 
range, when wc came to (he Quanijiu; the boundar 
Hue between Taehelga and DemOea. 
R 2 



e 

I 



52 A STORM. 

This river, which has its rise in the hills of Dagossa^ 
half an hour's distance west of the Tzana^ had, when 
we crossed it, scarcely more than two feet depth of 
water; but during the rainy season, the numerous 
torrents which roll into it render it a formidable 
stream before it debouches into the Atbara. Along 
its banks coal-mines of a very superior quality abound ; 
even those pieces which lay strewn over the ground, 
and had become calcined by the action of the sun, on 
being lighted, burned with a fervent heat. Some 
shepherds, who were tending their flocks on the rich 
pasture-land of these extensive plains, cheerfully sup- 
plied us with an abundance of excellent milk, and, 
after a brief halt and this substitute for coffee, I 
leaped again into my clumsy saddle, and rode away. 

The weather, which was unusually close and sultry 
— the wonted indications of an impending storm — ^in- 
duced us to quicken our pace across the meadow- 
land, towards the hills, where clusters of huts pro- 
mised us a safe shelter and retreat. Oiu* accelerated 
speed was however of no avail. The few clouds 
which ominously hung on the eastern horizon suddenly 
overspread the whole sky ; the thunder began to roll, 
the lightning to flash, the wind to howl, and the very 
atmosphere,^ so calm and serene a Uttle before, be- 
came murky, sulphureous, and loud with unearthly 
tones, as if the very elements of nature were in 
agony, and the dissolution of the imiverse at hand. 
My mule, pelted by the rain and hail which fell in 
rattling and drenching showers, instinctively rushed 
towards a cover formed by the sycamore and wild fig. 



I DISAPPOINTING ISTELUCF.NCE. 53 

I or woria trees, where, not without danger from the 
I crtakiiig branches nnd the hirid lightniDg, I watched 
1 anxiously the gradual dispersion of the black clouds 
I find the re-appearance of the obscured aun. The 
I tempest lasted about an hour, and then subsiiled 
I again as suddenly as it had s|irung up ; and if the sab- i 
I merged plain and uprooted trees had not itupeded our 
I progress, we shoidd soon have forgotten this unplea- 
I Boat interruption to our onward progress. 
\ The soft wet soil, intersected by many torrents 
und miniature lakes, proved Berions obstacles to j 
kur reaching the royal cain[j on the following mom- | 
Bng RS vre had calculated ; and, as if to increase i 
■Dur vexation and misery, the last few hoiu^ liad 
llHiiised a bend in our path, which led us round a 
Illiicket of brushwood into the very midst of a 
Kcnmching group of women and soldiers, who, in 
ft that wantonly lying spirit of the Abyssinians, deli- 
ftl)crately informed us tliat the King had gone to ' 
lj9eira Tabor, a place eighteen hours further east 
■ than Lamgie. 

K This intelligence, although we did not believe it, 
I'ttill filled me with some uneasy apprehensions about | 
Kthe issue of the jomney, and my meeting with the I 
KXing. Accustomed to fatigues and inured to toils, 
K] allowed little time to the reflections of my com- 
Ipanions, who longed for a few hours' rest and the 
IpDVCtutl dallah jar in the village we were ap- 
broecbiug, but continued to push on till night 
Bcontpelled US to tether our jaded animals near the 
Bioiiie of a friendly peasant. Dctuctiinents of troops 



54 UNGUARDED BIVOUAC. 

fix)m various parts of Demhea^ where they had been 
quartered on the inhabitants as a punishment for their 
suspected sympathy with the rebel Gerat^ soon joined 
us ; and these noisy savages, with their garrulous 
wives and servants, kept up a clatter and din that 
forbade all sleep, and drove us out of the reach of 
their busy tongues. 

We now found the road everywhere dotted with 
marching or sleeping regiments, who were all on their 
way to join the royal standard- Close on the Tzana 
we passed through the lines of several thousand 
horsemen, who, notwithstanding the darkness of 
the night and the proximity of a rebel chief, left 
their camp to the guardianship of countless flocks 
of geese and ducks, whilst they, in utter forgetful- 
ness of all around them, vied with the hippopotami 
in filling the. air with jarring nasal sounds. The 
echo of our mules' tramp on the hard, stony soil, 
called forth the howl and yell of many a leopard and 
hyena; but I believe a park of artillery would not 
have awakened these pillars and props of Ethiopia's 
throne. 

With the grey dawn we came near the Amou 
Garnou, two rivers which, after absorbing the moun- 
tain torrents of Emfras, sluggishly flow through the 
plain, till, within two hours of the Tzana, they mingle 
their streams ere they are swallowed up by the lake. 
Governors and feudal chiefs, attended by the retainers 
of their respective clans in file after file, and line after 
line, all armed with swords, spears and shields, in 
uninterrupted succession, now swept down the moun- 



MARCH OF TROOPS. 56 

tains and along the reed-edged bay to the rendezvous 
at Lamgie. There was something noble and chival- 
rous in this martial array of mounted warriors, which 
would have excited the admiration of any stranger, 
had not the sight of a prodigious rabble of toil-worn, 
footsore, and wobegone young girls and women, 
burdened with heavy loads, and ready to drop from 
incessant fatigue, marred the interest and diverted 
the sympathy. The poor things, unconscious of 
their degradation and misery, voluntarily choose this 
wretched existence in preference to the healthy lot of 
the peasant, and a quiet and virtuous life in the 
mountain-hut. 

Myself and servants cautiously endeavoiured to 
avoid being mixed up or lost in the crowd ; but 
as this was almost impossible, we diverged from the 
road, and in the dried-up bed of a river sought a 
shelter till the bulk of the army had passed. About 
ten o'clock we mounted again ; and between a laby- 
rinthine confusion of leafy huts and cage-shaped tene- 
ments, the previous camping-ground of a division of 
the royal host, rode on through a tract of country, so 
variegated in its features by gentle eminences and 
murmuring brooks, by dark forests, and a calm sea, 
that the whole landscape bore the aspect of a park laid 
out on a gigantic scale. 

A wide passage between two chains of mountains, 
brought us in sight of the troops and gaudy tents 
of King Theodoros. With my sweltering compa- 
nions, and two miserable jaded mules, I plunged 
into the very centre of the serried ranks of grim 



56 AUDIENCE OF THE KING. 

warriors, who politely suflPered us to pass on towards 
the tent of the late Mr. Bell, an Englishman of high 
rank in the royal army. Mr. Bell, who was a perfect 
Abyssinian in appearance and dress, but a gentleman 
in thought and heart, gave me, what in my peculiar 
circumstances I doubly appreciated — a reception so 
cordial and friendly, that I shall ever cherish his 
memory with sincere a£Pection and regard. The same 
afternoon he informed the King of my arrival, and 
His Majesty most urbanely appointed the next day 
for an audience. 

Punctual to the engagement, the King sent for me 
on the following morning, and, accompanied by Mr. 
BeU, I repaired to the royal presence. As the weather 
was cool and refreshing. His Majesty had left the 
tent, and, surrounded by scores of his nobles, paced 
up and down on a greensward facing the Tzana. 
On approaching this spot I uncovered my head, 
and, in a deferential attitude, paused at about fifty 
yards distance from the royal presence. With the 
greatest courtesy the King beckoned me to come 
nearer, a condescension towards a Prankish priest 
which made many a haughty chief sneer, and then in 
a tone of the utmost affability, he interrogated me 
about the various countries I had visited, the cha- 
racter of the people, and the rehgions they professed. 
That a Christian nation like the English should 
tolerate idolatry in India, and uphold the power of 
Mohammedanism in Egypt and Turkey, he coidd not 
understand ; and as politics and religion are synony- 
mous terms in Abyssinia, I thought it advisable 



VISIT PROM A CHIEF. 57 

merely to observe that Christianity taught us to love, 
and not to persecute ; to instruct, and not to oppress an 
tmbeliever. *'Avoonat! avoonat /" (" True ! true ! ") he 
exclaiined ; " and if this is your design in Abyssinia 
you have my approval to your mission, if you likewise 
obtain the assent of the Aboonay On my craving 
penuission to travel in his realm, in case the Metro- 
politan countenanced the object which had brought 
flie to Abyssinia, he instantly replied, "I am your 
brother and friend, and you have my full sanction to 
visit every province in my kingdom/' 

On my return from the royal audience, the Governor 
of the united provinces of Lasta and Bellesa, a 
powerful chieftain, paid me a visit in Mr. Bell's tent. 
This noble chiefs father, a few years ago, expiated a 
traitor's crime by the hangman's hand; but, un- 
natural as it may seem, the doom of the parent did 
not in the least a£Pect the allegiance and fealty of the 
son. He has a regular army of about twenty thou- 
sand horsemen under his command, and should any 
contingency arise, as he told me himself, he could 
easily in a week or fortnight double this number from 
the sturdy and fierce mountaineers attached to the 
family whom he represents. In person he is exceed- 
ingly prepossessing ; and as a pleasing exterior and 
daring courage win the heart and dazzle the eye of rude 
and uneducated men of every country and clime, he is 
perfectly idolized by his troops, and very much in 
favour with the King. My own mission interested 
him exceedingly, and like the King and many other 
nobles, he lamented the degradation of his country. 



58 ROYAL PRBSENT. 

and the sins and vices which pollute the people. He 
urged me to visit Lcdibella, the capital of Lasta — a 
place famous for a church cut out in a solid rock. I 
fiiUy intended to avail myself of the profiFered protec- 
tion to see this sacred and venerated shrine ; but the 
long tour through the districts inhabited by the 
Falashas^ and the approach of the period for my depar- 
ture, did not allow me to spend any time in antiquarian 
researches. During our conversation, several officers 
claimed their chieftain's attention, but he felt so in- 
terested in what Mr. Bell and myself told him about 
Europe, that even when a royal messenger summoned 
him to attend a Council, he manifested great reluct- 
ance to make his exit. 

This being Passion Week, when no animal food is 
brought into camp, the King, with unwonted consi- 
deration for a stranger, sent me a present of an ante- 
lope, which had been caught in a thicket by some troops. 
Maggerer, a French soldier, whom a variety of adven- 
tures had brought into the service of his Abyssinian 
Majesty, was just at the moment talking to me. I at 
once consigned the gift to his care, and no chef de 
cuisine^ without pot or pan, ever achieved a greater 
triumph in the gastronomic art than this old cam- 
paigner then accomplished on the verdant plain* of 
Lanigie. Our venison, as it had been roasted without 
a pot, was also served without a dish ; a few clean 
rushes, spread on the ground, answered the purpose 
of the best china or plate, and for knives and forks we 
used our fingers and two trusty swords; but not- 
withstanding the primitive character of our board, the 



CHURCH MUSIC. 69 

e TVanks squatting on the hard ground, near the 
llifuo', formed the most happy and contented party in 
ittat cxteusive camp. 

Dnring the night, the priests in a tented chapel 

! engaged in a kind of service that consisted 

itirely in melancholy howls and moans, accompanied 

J tho harrowing sound of the uegareet and the rat- 

ffing of a ring-covered fork-like key. The harmony 

produced by this church music was far less endurable 

Ulan the distracting laughter of a whole pack of 

byenas. To sleep in the midst of this deafening noise 

Was quite a task ; but, after tossing to and fro on the 

Mttl for some hours, fatigue overwhelmed me, 

fell into so sound a slumber, that I did not 

hear the entrance of some irrehgious soldiers, 

3 carried oft' the remains of our venison. 

^ About eight o'clock his Majesty, accompanied by all 

state dignitaries who were waiting outside his 

nt, proceeded to the camp chm-ch, where a fresh 

npany of priests and debterahs were lustily exerting 

• lungs in chanting Psalms and Ethiopia hymns. 

! King and two or three of liia magnates entered 

• cimvass sanctuary, but all the rest of his suite, 

I by conscious guilt, joined the mighty nuUti- 

Itle, who, at a respectful distance, knelt in devotional 

titudcs on the soft grass and fragrant herbage. Imme- 

i»t«!y after service there was a grand review of about 

000 horsemen, who, in martial order, had assembled 

1 the outskirts of the plain. The King, accompanied 
r his chiefs, all mounted on beautiful horses, with 

I erect and shields embossed with gold, dashed 



60 MILITARY PARADE. 

right into the centre of the opening lines, and in an 
instant every sword was unsheathed and spear poised. 
The manoeuvres, which principally consisted in skilful 
charges and retreats, in throwing and picking up the 
spear at full gallop, lasted about an hour ; and then, 
in military order, led by the King himself, the whole 
division darted at full speed around the camp, till 
they came in front of the royal tent, where every one 
leaped out of his saddle, and in grave silence awaited 
his Majesty's retreat. 

In the afternoon, Mr. Bell and myself were sum- 
moned to the royal tent, where, for some time, we 
conversed on several of the most important articles of 
our faith. I was quite astonished to find that his 
Majesty was well acquainted with many portions of 
God's Holy Word ; and though his reUgious knowledge 
partook deeply of the superstitions and errors of his 
Church, yet it was quite evident that he had studied 
the Bible, and had also received a good impression from 
its sacred contents. I mentioned to him some of the 
results of modem missions, and if he had won a 
great battle, he could not have manifested greater 
delight and pleasure than he expressed on hearing of 
the achievements of the Gospel, and the triumphs of 
the Cross. 

During our conversation, I incidentally alluded to 
the promise, "Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her 
hands unto God." On hearing this quotation, his 
whole countenance, usually stern and grave, assumed 
a happy and smiling expression, and, as if engaged in 
some deep reflection, he made a short pause in our 



PROPHETIC PROMISE. 61 

conversation, and then exclaimed, in a tone in which 
mistaken piety and ardent zeal were evidently 
blent, " Let God give victory to my arms, and 
peace to my empire, and the Cross shall not lack 
support in this country ! *' 



62 



CHAPTER V. 

The King — His youthful Career — Death of his TJnde— Strife 
between the Sons — Kaaa^a Flight — Becomes a Freebooter^ 
Farmer, Kebel, and powerful Chief — Defeat in the Lowlands 
— Breach with the Queeu — Battle at Tschako — Capture of 
the Queen — Belease — Treachery — Revenge — Kasa conquers 
Godja/m — Imprisons Bern Goshu — Takes Tigre — Is crowned 
King Theodores — Chastises the W0U09 — Subjugates Shoa — 
Sequestration of Church Property — Embassy of the Copt 
Patriarch — Unsuccessful Intrigues — Revolting Barbarities. 

Thb name of King Theodores, though familiar to the 
Arab and the Galla — the peasant on the Nile, in the 
west, and the wild shepherd on the desert along the Red 
Sea, in the east — is still, owing to the remoteness of his 
country, and the obscurity of his people, little known 
to Europe and European fame. We hear of him, when- 
ever a volcanic eruption occurs on the outskirts of his 
territory, or French emissaries, prompted by religious 
zeal and political intrigue, excite a rebel's fatal hope in 
J'iffre ; but Uttle, very little, is still known about the 
eventful and romantic history of the man, who, from 
a poor boy, in a reed-built convent, became the chief 
of a few freebooters, and from a chief of freebooters, 
the conqueror of numerous provinces, and the Sove- 
reign of a great and extensive realm. 

King Theodoros, the present ruler of Abyssinia, 



EARIiT TRAINING OP THE KING. 63 

was born in Quara, a small province on the western 
borders of Amhara, His father, Hailu Weleda 
Georgia, though a reputed scion of Queen Saba's 
royal line, acquired no distinction in life, and 
awakened no sympathy or regret at his death. The 
small fortune of the deceased nobleman was soon 
seized and wasted by greedy relations, and the poor 
mother of Kaaa (the surname of the future King), 
like numbers more in that demoralized country, where 
love is seldom hallowed by the religion that belongs 
to it, was, ere long, driven by want to eke out a 
miserable subsistence by the sale of kosso* whilst 
the tender object of her aflfcction found a refuge in a 
convent at Tschangar^ twelve hours south-west of 
Gondar. In this asylum the young orphan might 
have spent some years in dreary indolence and life- 
sapping inactivity, had not Dejatch Marou, a defeated 
rebel, invaded the sanctuary, burned all its huts, and 
by killing and mutilating helpless boys glutted his 
cowardly vengeance on their victorious parents. Kasa 
eluded the inhuman cruelty of the dastardly foe, and, 
under the covert of night, gained the house of his 
powerful uncle, Dejatch Confu. 

In this chieftain's home, which was the rendezvous 
of scheming and discontented rebels, the ardent 
youth imbibed an enthusiastic love of war, and a 
passionate ambition for daring and dangerous exploits. 

• The kosw tree grows at an^^altitude^of about 8,000 feet 
ItB beautifxil flowers, which hang in profusion on every branch, 
are a specific against the tapeworm, from which all Abjwinians 
sofifer. 



64 DEATH OF COHFU. 

His coorage, which knew no fear, and shrank from no 
obstacle, soon secured him the favour of his guardian^ 
and the admiration of his troops ; and the late aspirant 
for precarious honours in the Church might have 
attained the highest dignity in the State, had not death 
deprived him of his potent guardian and generous 
benefactor. The two sons and heirs of Confu, as it 
will also sometimes happen in other lands, had hardly 
consigned the mortal remains of their parent to its last 
resting-place, when they began to fight and quand 
about the patrimony. 

Dejatch Goshu Beru^ the valiant, crafty, and plot- 
ting Governor of Bamot and Godjam, eagerly watched 
the issue of this insane fratricidal strife, and when 
the whole province had been reduced to anarchy, 
confusion, and disorder, he invaded it with his lawless 
hordes, and, almost without any resistance, made 
himself master of the most fertile and populous 
parts of Abyssinia. Kasa, who had joined the 
partisans of the elder brother, fled before the fero- 
cious and unsparing conqueror to Sarago, in Alava^ 
where, concealed in the hut of a kind peasant, 
he eluded for more than a month the pursuit of the 
ruthless foe. It is narrated that, some years later, 
when Kasas military successes and triumphs had 
achieved for him the title of Dejatch, he was sent 
to Alava, to repress and quell an insurrection 
in that district. The rebels, without resistance, were 
awed into submission; and, to prevent any future 
troubles, every insurgent was mulcted in a penalty of 
feeding for a week half a score or more of voracious 



CHEQUERED CAREER. 65 

troops. Kasas former benefactor refused to receive 
the unwelcome guests, and upon being dragged before 
the chief, he was instantly recognised by the recipient 
of his bounty, and, amidst the plaudits of the sol- 
diery, exalted to the Shumat of Sarago, and rewarded 
with the gift of twenty dollars, eight oxen, eight cows, 
and eight male and female slaves. 

To return from our digression. We find KoBa^ 
after his escape from Beru Goshus bloodhounds, at 
the head of a band of seventy robbers, in the marshy 
and malarious borders of the western koUa, or low- 
land, subsisting on the illicit gains of bloodless highway 
robberies. The banditti, weary of their leader's strict 
discipline, conspired against his life ; but before they 
could perpetrate their fell deed, the secret was 
divulged, and, in a terrible encounter, Kasa^ with 
a few bravos, disabled and routed his enemies. 
With this small band of trusty and faithful followers, 
he now joined Derar, another desperado, and these 
two boon companions for some months were the 
terror of the Tougrourees and the scourge of all the 
KhouHidgees, or Mohammedan merchants, on the road 
between Wochnee and Matamma. 

Disgusted with a vocation which, though not disre* 
putable in a lawless and disorganized country, he yet 
had 80 much sense of moral rectitude, that he soon 
shrank in perfect horror from a freebooter's trade, 
and returned again to an honest livelihood in his own 
native place. The bold exploits and gallant feats 
which had rendered the robber's name famous 
throughout Abyssinia and Soudan^ attracted crowds 

p 



66 TREACHERY OF THE QUEEN. 

of needy, disaflPected, and improvident chiefis and 
soldiers around him ; and the daring bandit, whose 
strong arm and ambitious heart could not well 
brook the narrow bounds of a farmer's home, again 
seized his sword, and, under the pretence of checking 
oppression and restraining violence, unfurled the 
standard of rebeUion. 

The Waisero Menin, mother of Bos Ali, and nomi- 
nally Queen of all the provinces west of the Taccazy* 
now began to dread the growing power of Kasa^ and, 
prompted by deep, passionate animosity, which inva- 
riably characterized her proceedings towards those 
who defied her authority, or did not minister to her 
revolting excesses, she despatched a lai^e army to 
crush, as she said, *'the kosso vendor's son." In- 
formed of the expedition, Kasa^ without delay, 
hastened to meet the enemy ; but no sooner did the 
latter come in sight of their opponents than they were 
seized with a panic, and fled to Dembea. The cunning 
woman had now recourse to intrigue, and the witchery 
of soft blandishments, which she had often found 
more powerful than her armies, to entrap a formidable 
enemy ; but Kasa, who saw the bait by which he 
was to be caught, met all these overtures with indif- 
ference or polite evasion. Baffled and embarrassed, 
the treacherous Queen was more than ever intent 
upon revenging herself on the presumptuous rebel, 
and as open violence and crafty art had equally failed, 
she did not shrink from compassing the redoubtable 
chieftain's death at the high price of her own grands 
child's honour, the daughter of Ras Alt, whom she 



PIUELrTY OF TBE WIFE. 



67 



gave hira in marriage. The young wife, instead of 
abetting the infamous design of her grandmother, 
"With a constancy and affection seldom witnessed in 

I demoraUzed countrj-, foiled every attempt on her 
teloved husband's life, by diverting the dangers which 

mtened him on herself. 

About this time the Arabs near the borders, con- 
ious of their neighbours' intestine feuds and quar- 
ils, made several inroads on Abyssinian settlements, 
I affront which the Queen commissioned Kasa, who 
resided in the country, to revenge. The bold 
lief obeyed the order ; and, witli an army badly 
quipped and inferior in number, he unexpectedly fell 
on the infuriated Araba and their Egyptian auxiU- 
ric8, and, reckless of life, maintained for several 
OUR an unequal and destructive conflict. His thin- 
ng ranks and a Hcrious wound compelled him to 
euvat, but the valour he had displayed during the 
ery contest struck terror and awe into the hearta of 
dc victors, and they allowed their enemies to retreat 
xtm the field of battle without any attempt to impede 
lieir march, or to make prisoners of the fugitive forces, 
"he remains of this forlorn -hope, who were either 
^founded or afflicted with fever, on reaching the 
DOUDtaiDS of Tsckslga, Kam immediately sent to 
luarters in the districts and vUlages along the Txana, 
rhilit he himself proceeded to Tschangar, to have his 
rounds cured by a pliysician of that place. A good 
iekiiig piece of broundo* being better adapted to an 
kbyesioian constitution than »11 the hornd drugs and 

* Broundo is tlio tiAtne for mw meat 

V 2 



4 



68 KASA BECOMES A REBEL. 

sickening concoctions which civilization has discovered, 
the JEsmlapim of Tachangar informed his patient 
that he could not extract a ball which an infidel Arab 
had lodged in his side, nor restore him to his wonted 
health and vigour, unless he received first a fat cow 
and a large jar of butter. K,a8a thought the doctor's 
prescription a good opportunity to remind the Queen 
that he was still in the land of the living ; but, as that 
dissolute and rancorous woman anticipated that the 
wound or poison would speedily rid her of an impla- 
cable foe, she sent him a joint of beef, with a sarcastic 
message that men of his rank and quality were not 
entitled -to a whole cow. 

Frantic with rage at this fresh insult, the wounded 
chief impatiently bided the few days the faithful 
leech required for his recovery, and when this was 
successfully effected, he hastily flew to Quara^ where 
he assembled his trusty followers, and before the 
Queen could, through the mediation of her niece, 
appease the wrath she had so causelessly provoked, 
a rebel army was on its way to Denibea and Gon^ 
dar. Convinced that no expression of regret, and 
no assurance of royal favour could heal the breach 
or avert the impending struggle, the Queen, with the 
prompt vigour and energy which she had so often 
displayed when beset by danger, despatched a strong 
force to intercept the rebels' progress, and to destroy 
their leader. The hostile armies met near TscAah), 
and, in a fierce engagement which took place the same 
day, the Royalists sustained a most signal and com- 
plete defeat, Kasa, besides a vast number of pri- 



; DEFEAT OF THE IMPERIAL TROOPS. 69 

soners, captured, what was of inestimable value to him, 
more than a thousand muskets. Amongst the pri- 
soners was a proud chief, named Dejatch JFonderad, 
who, in a coimcil of war at Gondar, loudly boasted 
that he would bring the kosso vendor's son alive or 
dead to the foot of the throne. Kasa, to whom 
Wonder ad' 8 speech was reported, sent for him during 
the evening, and, to the amazement of all present, 
handed him a dose of the obnoxious though harmless 
draught, adding, in a tone of biting sarcasm, " As my 
mother did no business to-day, you will accept koaao 
instead of teff for your evening repast." 

A war a Voutrance now began to rage all over 
^Western Abyssinia. The Queen, anxious to retrieve 
past failures and to recover lost territory, assumed the 
generalship of her own army, and at Balahay near the 
Tzanuy she fell unexpectedly upon the foe with a vio- 
lence, resolution, and bravery that defied all resistance^ 
and overcame every^ opposition. Unfortunately, the 
pusillanimous chiefs did not emulate the heroism of 
their fearless Queen, and the combat, thus auspiciously 
commenced, was so supinely pursued that it ignomini- 
ously terminated in the flight of the imperial troops, 
and the captivity of their bold and undaunted com- 
mander. 

Ras Alt, the son of the Waisero, and father-in-law of 
Kasay keenly smarted under the disgraceful imprison- 
ment of his mother, and the check to his own aspira* 
lions after a crown ; but as he thought it imprudent 
to incense a foe dreaded by his chiefs and regarded as 
invincible by his troops, he hung up the sword, and 



70 FLIGHT OP RA8 AM. 

had recourse to diplomacy. Kasa, who to an im- 
petuous temper unites a generous heart, readily yielded 
to the Ras*8 suggestions, and, on condition that under 
the title of Dejatch he should hold the conquered 
provinces as fiefs of the Crown, he at once gave 
liberty to the princess, and peace to the troubled and 
distracted empire. 

A peace obtained by craft could not be of long 
duration ; and in 1853, scarcely two years after 
the battle of Balaha^ Kasa was formally super- 
seded in his government, and proclaimed a traitor 
and a rebel. This outrageous breach of a solemn 
pledge excited universal indignation amongst the 
DtyatcA's partisans, and the soldier as well as' 
the peasant burned to revenge on a licentious 
Queen and her perfidious son, the wrongs of their 
admired hero, and the insults of their beloved 
chief. The demon of civil war, once evoked, soon 
ci^nvulsed the whole kingdom, and every one, young 
and old — the needy, who coveted plunder, and the 
anibitious, who sought promotion— all spurred on by 
difterent motives^ hastened to take part in a conflict 
\vl\ieh was to decide the fate of the throne and the 
destiny of the reigning family. At Jiskal, in Dembea, 
a n\t>st sanguinary and destructive battle was fought 
In^twivu tlie rival forces. Bas Ali, as Mr. Bell, who 
was in the engaj::ement, told me, displayed a bravery 
ai\d djunng tluit elicited general admiration; but, not- 
withstanding the despairing efi(>rt of the fated chief, 
the rule of the licentious semi -Christian Gai/a 
usnrjH^rs had n^aeljetl its goal, and before night their 



DEVOUT EMOTIONS. 71 

last descendant was a fugitive for life, whilst his 
despised foe remained victor of the field and gainer 
of the crown. 

The conqueror at Aiahal now marched to Quami 

Tickeri, in Godjam, to revenge his own and his 

otmntry's sufferings on the ruthless Beru GosAu. In 

the evening preceding the engagement which freed 

Abyssinia from a dreaded and remorseless chieftain, 

-iam and his brother officers were discussing, over 

^ome reeking joints of brounda, the merits of their 

^^^spective troops, when one of the principal magnates 

^^^lied, "What need we to fear? Since no one can 

^^ist us, how much less you, our dauntless and gal- 

-'^nt leader P " Kasa instantly threw himself on his 

Wee, and, in the midst of his hardened companions of 

ar, exclaimed, in a solemn tone of voice, " I praise 

^hee, O God, that thou hast manifested thy goodness 

^to a poor sinner like me 1 Whom thou humblest is 

tumbled, and whom thou exaltest is exalted. Thine 

is the power and glory for ever and ever." The next 

day JBeru Gosku was captured, and, with a stone 

round his neck,* led into the presence of the fugitive 

whose life he had formerly sought to destroy. The 

magnanimous chief ordered a cloth to be spread 

for his captive, and, in most condescending lan- 

* * If a person in Abyssinia insults a superior, or is guilty of 
some misconduct against a master, he puts a stone on his neck, 
and, with bended head, cries, " Pardon me ! pardon me ! " This 
it} continued without intermission till the offended party removes 
the stone, and giyes the formal absolution, saying, '* May God 
pardon thee!*^ 



72 CONJUGAL INDIFFfiBEKCS. 

guage, asked him what fate he would have awarded 
him if their fortunes had been reversed Beru 
Goshu sullenly replied, " You would have been exe- 
cuted/' This bold and unexpected retort brought 
a score of swords out of their sheaths ; but the con- 
queror, instead of approving the rage of the nobles 
by whom he was surrounded, publicly acknowledged 
the Divine goodness which, more than the valour of 
his troops, had saved him from such a cruel death. 

During these events, the prisoner's wife, imconscious 
of her husband's fate, together with a considerable 
number of troops, bravely repulsed every assault on 
the rock, Tshebella Amba, where they had intrenched 
themselves. Kaaa, anxious to prevent the unneces- 
sary effusion of blood, sent the prisoner, his two 
brothers-in-law, and several dignitaries to solicit the 
lady, on the peril of her own and the lives of those 
near and dear to her, to put an end to hostilities by 
evacuating the rock. The affectionate wife laconically 
replied, " Let Kaaa take the Amba ; but let him not 
give me back my husband." The request was granted, 
and JBeru Goshu will no doubt, to the end of his days, 
bemoan, on the isolated summit of the 2!ar Amba^ 
the conjugal indifference of his treacherous and false 
partner. 

The ambition of Kasa grew as his power increased, 
and since the western provinces were now all united 
\mder his sway, he cast a longing eye on Tiffre and 
Shoa, two powerful states which, since the reign of 
Tecla Georglsy in 1780, had maintained the independ- 
ence of their Governments and the administration of 



INVASION OP TIGRE. 73 

thdr respective laws. Dejatch OubiCy the goveraor of 
%ne, anticipated Kasas intention, and, to avoid a 
surprise, he assembled a well-organized anny, and 
unidst the alpine heights of Semien awaited the 
enemy's approach. On a cold, raw, and stormy day 
in February, 1856, the Amhara forces, after a long 
^nd fatiguing march, came in sight of the wide- 
spreading outlines of Oubies well»ordered camp. 
With that activity and promptitude which marked all 
^ movements, Kasa at once marshalled his army 
^ battle array, and, contrary to their expectations and 
^monstrances, ordered them to charge the enemy, 
^t this command a loud murmur of discontent broke 
^fom the serried Unes of his fierce warriors, and for 
^ome moments Kam himself stood appalled at these 
symptoms of fear and insubordination ;* but as, in the 
ibrtune of that day, the prospects of a crown were 
involved, the resolute chief, in that clear and confident 
tone of voice which had often done him more service 
than the sword he so bravely wields, rode in fi'ont of 
his army, and in a short address, in which he recapi- 
tulated to the breathless multitude their former glo- 
rious achievements, he defiantly added, "And now, 
after all our numerous conquests, does yonder rheu- 
matic dotard chill your prowess P Do yonder guns, 
charged with powder and rags, cow your souls ? Are 
yonder rocks and chasm a barrier to your bravery P 
Follow me, and to-morrow by this time my name will 
be no more Kaaa but Theodoros, for God has given 

* I got some of these particulars &om Mr. Bell, who took an 
active part in the battle of Semieru 



74 CAPTIVITY OP OUBIfi. 

me the kingdom/' Reanimated by the words 
of their dauntless leader, the countless host rushed 
on the expectant foe, who welcomed them with 
a shower of iron balls and well-aimed spears. The 
groans of the dying and the war shouts of the living, — 
the echoes of the cUffs and the rolling thunder of the 
storm, all combined to make that day one of the most 
terrible in the annals of Abyssinian warfare. 

Evening was fast approaching, and the shades of 
night were beginning to confound friend and foe, still 
the desperate struggle raged with unabated ardour, 
and the carnage continued with unmitigated fury. 
Oubie, who had on that day evinced a generalship and 
gallantry that recalled to many a scarred head the 
deeds of their former adored Sabapadia, was at last, 
unknown to his soldiers, forced by exhaustion and age, 
to seek a brief rest in a deep dell at the outskirts of 
the battle-field. This almost unguarded retreat was 
discovered by a detachment of Kasas troops, and 
before the old chief could recover from the sudden 
surprise, he was seised and carried in triumph to the 
enemy's camp. The Tigreans, bewildered and panic- 
stricken at their leader's captivity, were immediately 
thrown into the utmost consternation, and before the 
different chiefs could summon courage to rally their 
disordered retainers, some had sought safety in flight, 
others in passive submission, and not a few in a 
soldier's honourable grave. 

On the following day, February 4th, Kaaa besieged 
the Amba Boahily 13,500 feet above the level of the 
sea ; and on the 5th| he was crowned under the name 



TDK BOOTT. 



76 



of King Theodoros, in the Ciuirch Mariam Deresffie, 
\i^X\it Aboona Salama, the Metropolitan of AbjBsinia. 
After the coronation, the royal troops took possession 
"f the Amba Hat, on whose suniiuit, of 14,000 feet 
^^ altitmle, Ouiie kept his treasures. Here, to their 
^■Mreeable surprise, they fovind two cannons, seven 
^BElboiisand muskets, a great quantity of gold and silver 
^^ plate, and above forty thousand Austrian dollars, be- 
sides a vast quantity of copper vessels, and a countless 
lumber of coloured Venetian bottles, which the Abys- 
sinian gentry use instead of wine-glasses in drinking 
their hydromel. 

trhe King having appointed a governor over the 
iqucnxl province, retraced his steps to Gondar, 
in whence, after a brief respite from incessant toil 
^nd iiitigue, he directed his march southward towards 
^ he WoHq Galla country — the old enemies of his 
Kd, aiid for a long period the ruthless oppressors of 
I pooplt!. Elated with former successes, and confi- 
idt in their military prowess, the JToIloa, who are 
nrided into mba beit, or seven clans, at once united 
KIT strength to oppose a foe whose power and war- 
ke skill they had just cause to dread. 
At Saga Gora tlie royal forces came in contact with 
!flrfl Bille, the treacherous host of Dr. Krapf ; and 
1 the TCry first charge the Abyssinians, led to the oii- 
bught by their martial Sovereign, displayed a courage 
which struck terror into the htarts of their oppressors, 
and made thum shrink from encountering a foe whose 
natural animosity long years of relentless tyranny had 
tttmulated to a pitch bordering on a kind of religious 



76 RETRIBUTION ON THS WOLLOB. 

frenzy. Adara Bille and upwards of a thousand 
Gdlas fell in battle, or perished under the execu* 
tioner's knife, whilst the country around was plun- 
dered, and the poor women and children carried 
captive into the various provinces of Abyssinia. 
The WoUo GaUa^ after this defeat, did not renew the 
contest ; but, chafed and dispirited, they precipitately 
fled to their mountain fastnesses, to brood over their 
late disaster, and to concert means for future action. 
Well acquainted with the treacherous character of his 
foes, the Eang, in anticipation of their wily design, 
at once fortified the Amba Maydala, which rises 3,500 
feet above the level of the surrounding scene, and 
then, leaving a garrison strong enough to check any 
sudden inroad upon his conquered territory, he turned 
towards Shoa^ the only province in Abyssinia which 
still maintained the independence of its government 
and regal power. 

The fierce and proud Shoaner, although they pro- 
fessed the most supreme scorn for the kosso vendor's 
son, yet did not neglect to make every preparation, 
and to adopt the most effective measures to oppose 
his onward progress. Their army, which consisted of 
upwards of fifty thousand brave and valiant troops, 
was, in regard to numbers, superior to that of the 
King; but the enthusiasm which prompted the 
assailants did not animate their opponents, for, whilst 
the latter felt that they were about to fight for a 
monarch who revelled in shameless vice and hateful 
excesses, the former were ready to shed their life's 
blood for a Sovereign beloved for his manly virtues. 



CONQUEST or SHOA, 



771 



bd venerated, nay, almost idolized, for his dauntless 
eroism. 

On the plain oiJiala W'or^-a the long-delayed conflict 

took place. The Shoaner, anxious to maintain their 

_old reuowQ for bravery, rushed to the charge with a 

t that defied all resistance, and yielded to no i 

wition. Their uncontrolled pjissions, however, 

ptinded their judgment, and made them deaf to the 

mmands of their leaders, and thus their savage 

bloodtliii-stiness turned what seemed to promise vic- 

' into a disgraceful and complete defeat. Hailo 

^Malakat, the successor of Sahale Sellasie* died ere 

he disastrous intelligence arrived, and his son Mmelek 

yielded himself a voluntary captive to the conqueror. 

The revolution which wrested the several distracted 
«nd misgoverned provinces from the grasp of petty 
■tvranU, and brought them under the sway of a 
I pDWerfid and energetic ruler, being now consummated, ] 
I the King tfft his royal prisoner to be the companion of ' 
' ha son at the Jmha Magdala, and then hastened back 
to Gondar, where he spent tlie rainy season in redrcss- 
' ing Ibc grievances, and in reforming tlie abuses of 
' former reigns. 

The hierarchy who, by many overt acts, had mani- 
fested their antipathy to the new King and their 
Bympathy with every rising rebel, were deservedly 
lidectcd to expiate their unchristian bias towards 
rohy aud disorder by the establishment of a new J 



" To tlu» |K>t«it«te CftpUibi Harris wm sent t 
br ibtt BriUsb Qovorniuout in 1641. 



speciatfl 



78 SEqUESTRATION OP CHURCH PROPERTY. 

code for the regulation of Church property, and the 
administration of her revenues. 

Since the reign of Yasous, a.d. 1680, the Abyssinian 
Church, partly by intrigue and partly by intimidation, 
had acquired vast landed property. These extensive 
domains, which comprise a third of the country, are 
free from all imposts and taxation. The King, unwill- 
ing to increase the burden of the peasant at the 
expense of the Church, at once sequestrated all this 
property for the use of the State; and instead of 
swarms of ignorant and vicious priests, who obtained 
ordination in order to live without labour, and as- 
sumed the turban * in order to enjoy luxurious ease, 
he appointed two priests and three deacons for each 
church, and to these he gave small tracts of land to 
cultivate for their maintenance. The storm of indig- 
nation and ebullition of wrathful feeling, which this 
new edict provoked, taught him the impracticability of 
carrying into immediate execution, a policy so im- 
portant for the interests and welfare of his country ; 
but although he bided his time, he did not abandon 
his plan, and in 1860, a httle after my arrival in the 
country, the suspended law came into full force. 

In December, 1856, whilst the King was en- 
camped at Jan Meeda, near Debra Tabor, he 
obtained intelligence of the arrival of the Copt 
Patriarch, Cyrillus, who had been despatched as 
Ambassador Extraordinary by Said Pasha, the Viceroy 
of Egypt. At the first interview the King expressed 
his surprise that a Lik Papaa^ or Patriarch, should 

* The turban is the badge of clerical diguity. 



VISIT OF THB PATRIARCH. 



Ksame the ofEceof a Mobammedun representative, and, 
8 if anxious to make the proud priest smart for the 
supercilious contempt which he had evinced for the 
Abysainians since his arrival in the country, lie in- 
. quired, in a tone of sarcastic irony, whether the pro- 
fsitions he offered for his acceptance were dictated- 
by love to Christ or devotion to Said Pasha. The 
Patriarch, galled by these taunts, merged the inildnesa 
the priest m the ire of the offended Ambassador, 
nd, in words to which royalty, even in the wilds of 
.Africa, is unaccustomed, gave utterance to his hitherto 
suppressed passion, an indiscrction which caused him 
bod the Aboona to be placed under arrest in the 
tiyal camp. This of course created a strong senas- 
Vion ; and from every quarter priests and monks 
a^aired to the royal presence to intercede in behalf 
of tbeir ecclesiastical chiefs. To ciub the importunity 
of these clamorous petitioners, he callously replied 
that he left the solution of his quarrel with a higher 
Power, and that if he was wrong in not complying 
with the conditions of the Patriarch, which required 
that he should expel his few valued European 
friends, and grant various privileges to his Moham- 
medao subjects, the men whom they hypocritically 
styled saints would, no doubt, like Tecla Haimanot 
be favoured with wings to fly out of the thorny enclo- 
•urc in which they were confined. Unfortunately, 
thifl volant power was not imported to the incarcerated 
and well-guarded prelates; a disappointment which 
bcut their stout iiiiuds, und taught the Gospel maxtin 



4 



80 REYOLTINO BAEBARITIE8. 

of humility to their proud hearts. The King, satisfiec 
that the salutary penance of five days' imprisonmeni 
had not been inflicted in vain, came to terms witb 
his prisoners, and, in the sight of the applauding 
army, the Patriarch and Aboona were led out of theii 
demolished prickly fence to more commodious and 
agreeable quarters. 

In the following November the Patriarch obtained 
leave to depart, and never did a chief pastor more 
willingly quit his flock, or a flock more anxiously sigh 
for the disappearance of their chief pastor, than the 
Abyssinians did for the hated Cyrillus, and CyriUm 
for that of the equally hated Abyssinians. 

The King having got rid of the troublesome Ambas- 
sador, and, as he thought, restored the blessings of peace 
and security to a long torn and bleeding empire, seri- 
ously contemplated to devote his time and attention 
to matters connected with the prosperity of the 
Church, and the development of the varied resources 
of his extensive country, when news of a rebeUion in 
Godjam forced him again to the field. Goaded to des- 
peration by these perpetual revolutions, his fiery temper 
biu-st through every bond of humanity, and most 
atrocious and revolting deeds were, regardless of sex 
and station, perpetrated on the hapless victims of his 
vengeance. The rebellion was crushed in blood, but 
the sting of remorse rankled deep in the heart of 
the despot ; and when, in the ensuing year, his afiec- 
tionate and tenderly-attached Queen died, he publicly 
acknowledged that he had suffered a just retribution for 



SOLEMN RESOLUTION. 81 

Ms cruelty towards the women of Godjam, and made a 
solemn vow never more to allow passion to blind his 
intellect, and to steel his heart. 

Here I shall for the present close the history of 
King Tkeodoros. His subsequent exploits, capricious 
reforms, and restless aftibition, to which I shall have 
fi^quently to revert, will be detailed in the different 
parts of this narrative. 



o 



CHAPTER M. 



IgTK«;iz>ce i-^T Coon Eoqnene — ^Excunion to the Gwnarak^ 
S^^IoaoQ ot" Ans&vntie Ladies — ComparatiTe Advantage o 
Sd&YT CkKlLiiig^-Dnnid of a Famine — Open-air Repose— 
]>tsa£:rvml4e Intntsion — DormitoiT of an Anglo-Abjasinia] 
Xoble — Morning Sahiiation — l^iam Fl^t — Roads — Ho 
Mineral firings — Sanitary Virtue — Origin — ^Tropical Con 
fiagradon — ^A Royal Citr — Disappointed Hopes — Ga&t. 



I HAD DOW beeD several days id the camp, aad shoolc 
probably have beeD coDdemDed to a life of iDactiyit] 
for several days loDger without beiDg able to fiDd \ 
plausible excuse for cra\iDg the royal saDctioD to mj 
departure before the orgies of Easter, had Dot Mr 
Bell, OD accouDt of ilhiess, proposed aD excursioD U 
the hot spriDgs od the bauks of the GumaroA, whicl 
lay OD the very road I had to traverse od mj 
way to Debra Tabor, whither Mr. BroDkhorst waj 
coDveying our luggage. The foUowiug day, whilst al 
breakfast iu the royal teut, I communicated my re- 
quest to His Majesty, and, in a tone which the moua 
tached European passport functionaries have still U 
acquire, he promptly replied, " Go in peace, my son 
I will give orders that your wants and safety shall hi 
cnsqrccl." During the repast which, owing to th< 



COURT ETIQCETTF., 

^t, consisted airaply of tefF cakes, dilHl* and an 
*bundancc of fermeiitecl bydrorael, I nearly lost tha 
^teeni and regard I liad liitlierto enjoyed, and 
tint, too, through an unconsciovis offcnct! against 
lie etiquette of aristocratic life. According to the 
ibj-ssiniau notion, every man who claims to be of pa- 
rician descent and noble lineage, must possess a fine 
ihama, lioed i,vith a deep red border, and be enabled 
a emulate the noise of a certain unclean animiil 
»hitst eating his meals. This elegant acquirement, 
fhich I had unfortunately not yet attained, drew 
>ipon me the frowns as well as the whispering censures 
«f the guests. Unconscious of the cause of this 
unexpected notoriety, I asked AJr. Bell whether there 
was anything peculiar in my appearance or dejiort- 
ment that provoked criticism. " Certainly," was thi 
rejoinder ; " your conduct is so ungentlemanly, that all 
the guests think you must be a very low fellow, and 
quite unaccustomed to move in genteel society." " An^ 
to what am I indebted for this good opinion?" returned 
I. " To the mode in which you eat ; for if you were 
a gentleman, you would show by the smacking uf your 
Jips the exalted station to which you belong ; but 
since you masticate your food in this inaudible 
manner, every one believes that you are a beggar, and 
accustomed to eat iu that unostentatious quietness 
which pretended poverty prompts individuals of that 
class to adopt." I assured tlicm that my breach of 

* DSlik ifl a ftMliionablti A.by8Hiuian eauou, oiim[MKU->d of r 
|tepfier, uniuiui, tuA au wluixlUR) of wuUir iu fust, atid btitt^ 
in MMi-fiiatui^ iluya. 

n 2 



I 
[ 



84 EXCURSION TO THE OUHARAH. 

etiquette ought to be attributed to the difference of 
the customs in my own country, and not to the low 
motive they assigned, an apology which amply satisfied 
the most accomplished courtier in the royal tent. 

Orders having already been communicated to a 
division of Mr. Bell's horse to accompany us, ihoee 
faithful and attached warriors, glad to enjoy a short 
respite from the perpetual toils of battle, well mounted, 
and in a soldierUke attitude, awaited their respected 
general's appearance. A crowd of beggars, who, like 
the carrion-scenting hyenas, invariably follow the 
camp, instantly surrounded the generous Lik-a-ma" 
quas ; but as neither of us had then much to spare, we 
vaulted into our saddles, and without delay made our 
escape from the importunities of the clamorous host 
of lazy mendicants. An hour's sharp ride beside the 
smooth waters of the Tzana^ conducted us into a 
green dark-leafed forest glade, where, in the thickest 
shade, concealed from every profane gaze, Mrs. Bell 
- — an Abyssinian lady of rank — surrounded by a 
bevy of bronzed damsels, awaited her spouse. It 
being midday, and the heat very oppressive, we gladly 
availed ourselves of the cool and lovely retreat to 
while away the noontide in luxurious ease. Our 
escort imitated the good example, and with that 
peculiar faculty, which I had so often envied, of woo- 
ing repose whenever it could be indulged in, the 
little wood soon resounded with a chorus of nasal 
sounds that hushed more effectively than the most 
stentorian voice the disagreeable chatter of the mock- 
ing and fearless monkeys that were practising their 



SECLUSION OF ARISTOCRATIC LADIES. 85 

gambols in the branches of the trees. Several de- 
tachments of troops passed our halting-place, and, in 
anticipation of obtaining some news, or getting a little 
snuff * from the Frankish priest, thej were inclined 
to intrude on our privacy ; but on being told that a 
v>oizero, or lady of rank, was near, they aU hurried 
away from the forbidden ground. 

The seclusion of women, which Christianity has 
abolished in all countries and climes where it has 
found an entrance, is still a universal practice through- 
out Abyssinia. Every lady of rank, after her mar- 
riage, is closely watched by stem janitors when at 
home, and enveloped and swathed in a suffocating 
quantity of white shamas and cotton belts when she 
rides abroad. This precaution, which makes the hus* 
band the guardian of his wife's virtue, may be a safe- 
guard against criminal intrigue amongst the caged 
odalisques in the harem of an indolent Turkish Pasha ; 
but in Abyssinia, where a chieftain spends six months 
of the year in the camp, or on marauding expeditions, 
this revolting law, which transfers the moral responsibi- 
lity of the mother and wife to unprincipled domestics, 
promotes the very mischief it is designed to check. 
We lingered in the deep seclusion of the forest, where 
no profane eye could admire the charms of my friend's 

♦ The Abyssinians condemn the use of tobacco because they 
believe that it originally grew out of the tomb of Anus, but their 
contempt for the fragrant weed, with a strange inconsistency, 
is only confined to smoking, and not to snuffing, a habit to 
which men and women are most inveteratcly addicted. 



1 



r. :dl is Jex jui s imde AtUd^ and tlien 
TLLnnie-i 2iir JBOBk joii mxiis and rode on. 
Zi- jjkLY ^^^^^ mnnstsi n ife cku^ of m troc^ 
it zii^ aid £3isie jfsxEanhaitaL we k& kr « l^AbjfB- 
•v.-esc-. 1] Tuzsoe ~iie ncsc iiiBiniii podi, wliflsk we 
^cr*u:k fims^ :iiftf liam. jnti jaik^wed \he most easy. 
r^«" jtruT*- T-iit jmEOC is ^ ^ rrva £rift, which 
T7:: liiiii ^me Tnunie u izcti oa tke faadts of oar 
sg^TTTiming muii^ Bwx^ qna fcoigtu m ed to this 
iii?ta± It luvT^pcun. iLj ^uccs. sGxlincs» and troa- 
i%:r^ lennii? 'iicpru^mr jcakedr a mkhap which 
tru oiy %aii-aiii£e vrjinpaoBio^ zx> phikisophiie on 
"die riiupartfi^i^ ^icjIct jc cor nss|Kcti¥e garments. 
I iiii 3CC ji^ lisqcsini jo ooncrovint their pfejudioe 
a ii'^'mr n zhe ixmmxim cc dsess ; oo the contrary, 
is i sTtTinniimenc x^ ^rir scrie of decorating the 
auLTiaa ±xaie. I rrir^w cif e^rr wei article I had on, and 
eaTtrij:ctv£ ii7>5*;if Ji thie 5ju^ o£ a ckan and nngreased 
>ijma waj:a Mr. Bifd jec: rse. Late at noon we 
r^racotfc sNi Mri. i ^:.?.'tjy coGssdng of half a score of 
saevfs ;invi in cc-iiiL nujiib^r of peasant fftmilies, where 

Our ikcichnient of troops^ the most renowned in 

the artUY tor daring deeds and gallant achievements, 
though dvlmired when ravaging the JToi/o country, 
were, to judge firooi the anxious looks and terrified 
countenances which greeted our arrival, not much 
courted when they approached one of their own native 
settlements. The poor peasants, who dreaded to 
receive a dozen of these hungry heroes for guests. 



BETWEEN TWO FlilES. 



S7 



IQ an ecstasy of delight when they saw them 
alutiiig their chief, and cantering across the plain 
towards the neighbouring villages. 

'Ite few of an impending famine, which a night's 
jotirn of our troops might have brought upon the 
lall settlement, being now removed, men and women 
^d with each other to euhance the comforts of the 
iguished and considerate travellers. We had 
xted the two best huts in the place for our accom- 
alion, but a brief inspection of our quarters 
ocularly convinced me that it had other occupanta 
than swartliy natives, and to avoid these there waa no 
!niative except the wide meadow, whither I speedily 
■ed, and between two blaaiag piles of wood— the 
rc8 to chase away wild iiundrupeds — I slept on 
the soft wet grass quite as comfortably as in a four- 
post bed, encumbered with stifling silken draperies. 
At early dawn the clatter and tramp of horses 
id me from my sleep. Doubtftd whether to get 
or to dose on, I was about to do the latter, when 
a division of our numerous escort, attracted by the 
glowing embers of the fire, flung themselves on the 
ground around me, and more by the effluvia of their 
lallowj tkamaa than the chitter of their garrulous 
giies, drove me from my temporary reating-plaee. 
.btutiou, toilet, and other accessories of civilization 
itnneceBsary in a country where towels and 
ihing-stonds arc miknown, I had merely to wipe 
dew from my face, and to adjust my priestly 
irboii, and 1 stood ready for a journey, a levee, or 
ly other important enterprise. 



^nltcrnt 

^^^Kctn 
the 8c 
» post I 
^L At 
^Housei 
^^ip or 



8S DORMITORY OF AN ANGLO-ABYSSINIAN NOBLE. 

A nauseous and sickening concoction of coffee an 
honey, which affection had prompted Lady Bell I 
prepfire for her consort's morning repast, the kin 
soldier requested me, through a young slave girl, I 
share with him. I followed the tripping and livel 
Galla through the devious windings of several thort 
enclosures, where savage curs in guardianship of tl 
village flocks could with difficulty be restrained froi 
an assault on the stranger, till we came to a sooty hi 
— the nocturnal abode of the Anglo- Abyssinian nobl 
A doorway of a few slender canes brought us into 
most dirty, foul, and smoky lair . I stumbled ovi 
logs of hard wood towards a dim and faintly-visib 
fire, which neither answered the purpose of emittin 
heat nor of diffusing light. " Here is a band, an 
if you object to the obnoxious fumes, a well-fille 
pipe is a sure antidote,'* exclaimed a laughing an 
cheerful voice, which I recognised as that of ir 
friend. I grasped the extended hand, and, guide 
by its steady motion, landed safely on a rickel 
alga — the honoured couch of the imperial minist 
and his spouse. Instead of my usual momin 
salutation, I ejaculated, " Get out of this horri 
den into the green and soft meadow, where you c« 
breathe the most invigorating and fragrant air tbi 
ever mortal inhaled." " Pooh, pooh ! " returned h 
" don't lecture me on the luxuries of dews and bli 
skies, to which I am condenmed eight months out ( 
every twelve; but squat down here on a skin fn 
from all living attractions while I pour you out, i 
this half broken cup, the only china in my posse 



MORI9INO SALUTATION. S9 

mm, a draught which> if I have not forgotten the 
good old tongue, * cheers but not inebriates/ " I 
obeyed the injunction, and, beneath dense clouds 
which imparted an inky tinge to our unwashed 
faces, passed away about an hour in listening to my 
firiend's ludicrous comparison of the happy existence 
in savagedom, with the exquisite miseries inflicted by 
the absurd conventionalities of civilization. 

And now the voices of the servants, the neighing of 
the horses, and the clank and clash of lance and sword 
reminded us that the time for our departure had 
arrived. A numerous assemblage of male and female 
attendants, together with several officers and the 
whole population of the straggling village, in a state 
of semi-nudity — the attitude of great deference and 
respect — awaited the appearance of the popular and 
beloved Lik-a-maquas. The reed door being pushed 
aside> all the civil and military authorities prostrated 
themselves on the unclean ground, and, in a hoarse 
chorus, bawled forth a whole string of morning salu- 
tations. 

The orders for marching were then given, and in 
an instant the whole cavalcade coursed and bounded 
over the wide^spreading plain, as if engaged in riding 
a race. It was an exciting and picturesque sight to see 
those hardy and active warriors, clad in their loose 
fluttering shamas, short cotton breeches, and leo- 
pard-skin dino, now rushing at a furious rate to 
the assault of an imaginary enemy, and now again, 
with flashing eyes and ferocious shouts, spurring to the 
rescue of a friend. Here a lance, poised by a sinewy 



90 APPROACH TO THB OUMARAH. 

arm, flew hissing through the au* ; there the blow 
of a formidable curved sword was dexterously parried 
by an opponent's weapon. The manceuvre Tasted till 
every horse was sweltering, and every rider was pant^ 
ing for breath. 

By the time this exercise was over, we had traversed 
the rich pasture land of Foggara^ and entered the 
wooded, hilly district of Wanzagie. The heat, 
though intense, was very much mitigated by the 
thick leafy branches of the venerable trees, which 
warded ofi^ the hot rays of the noontide sun. We 
passed a few isolated huts, in the charge of little 
tawny urchins, who, at the sight of the white men and 
their escort, ran affiighted into the rank grass and 
thorny bushes to conceal themselves till the travellers 
had disappeared. 

As we advanced^ the country became more wild, 
and the path more precipitous. Monkeys abounded 
in the trees, and also a few savage-looking boars 
prowled about the marshy banks of the numerous 
rivulets in search of roots, but no human being was 
visible except three miserable, haggard wretches, on 
whose countenances vice had traced its appalling cha- 
racters, and these, like om'selves> were wending their 
way towards the celebrated medicinal hot springs. 
Late at noon we espied the deep-fissured gorge 
through which the river threaded its winding course. 
The descent being steep and overgrown with entangled 
shrubs and mimosas, we consigned our animals to the 
care of the servants, and scrambled, quite indifferent 
to the scratches inflicted on our hands and feet, down 



HEALING SPRIK68. 91 

to the Gumarahy where, on a clean grassy spot, I was 
soon comfortably established. 

The hot minenil springs, which in krge volumes 
well out of the dull, brown basalt rock, are situated on 
a sloping declivity close to the river's edge. A small, 
insignificant building, raised over a basin two feet in 
depth, into which the sanative water bubbles, consti- 
tuted the bath for the lame, the blind, and the halt ; 
whilst those who were afflicted with scrofulous, scor- 
butic, leprous and other contagious diseases had to 
perform their lavations in an enclosed pool a Uttle 
lower down, where they enjoyed the double advantage 
of getting cool as well as already tested water. 

These baths, which are continuaUy surrounded by 
most haggard and ghastly objects, vividly reminded 
tue of Bethesda's pool. There were men and women, 
youths and maidens, all more or less branded by the 
indeUble curse of depravity and vice. Some of these 
helpless creatures were squatted on the bare soil, 
some lay at full length in the sun's fiery rays, and 
some leaned their aching firame for support against a 
rough stone, or the trunk of a decayed tree ; but not- 
withstanding the incurable character of the maladies 
with which the majority were smitten, the cadaverous 
eyes of all watched with intense anguish for a vacancy 
in the two ever-filled kennel-like structureSj — the only 
objects of their longing desire, — the only bright spots 
that shed beams of hope in their souls' dark despair. 

My friend, Mr. Bell, whom a long residence in this 
country had rendered perfectly indifferent to mephitic 
influences, out of consideration to me^ ordered the 



*■ 



92 MIRACULOUS ORIGIN. 

upper hath to he cleaned, hut I had no desire U 
prevent any one of the numerous pitiful groups clus 
tered around these imaginary health-imparting foun 
tains from enjoying the remedy on which they placec 
their vain expectations of a cure. 

Saints and demons, angels and fiends, whom th( 
natives respectively hless or curse for whatever is gooc 
or had in their country, come in also for a share o 
the virtues attributed to these salubrious springs 
According to their legend, holy Kirios, a man of m 
mean saintly repute, by his love for the truth and zea 
for the Gospel contracted the enmity of the unbe 
lievers, who, to glut their revenge, awarded him i 
crown of martyrdom. The soul of the fictitious saint 
released from its earthly thralls, winged its flight U 
the regions of the blest, but his mortal remains, unin 
terred by the miscreants, were devoured by larg( 
. vultures called amor as ^ and his bones dropped nea 
the Gumarahy on those very spots from which gusi 
forth the healing waters— the incontestable proofs o 
his piety, and the everlasting memorials of his benevo 
lence. 

To prevent these resorts of the sick and sufferinj 
from being overcrowded, the healing virtue of the wate 
is restricted to seven days ; after that period, thei 
efficacy becomes neutralized, and should the patien 
delay his departure, he may be honoured for his teme 
rity by a visit from the Nedatitu, a race of graceles: 
female Genii, who riot in carnage, and are reportec 
to feast on human flesh. I had no inclination t< 
protract ray stay in this lazar spot of disease and ill 



TROPICAL CONFLAGRATION. 93 

famed home of savage harpies, and therefore, after 
two days' rest, I scaled again the lofty heights which 
rise almost perpendicularly on both sides of the Gu- 
marah^ and set out for Gaffat, near Debra Tabor, the 
capital of Begemeder, 

The ascent out of this gloomy dell, where every 
breath seemed tainted with the poison of incurable 
disease, brought us again into a cooler atmosphere, and 
a more exhilarating scene. My mule being fresh, and 
my servants well fed and greased, we all three moved 
along at a rate that startled many a wild beast out of 
its lonely haunt. 

The narrow untenanted valley of Wamagie, which 
we had traversed by noon, brought us to a broken 
and unfinished-looking range of rocks, an excres, 
cence of the alpine Guna, We halted a few minutes 
to recover our expended energy, and then, with a 
desperate eflfort, slowly and cautiously climbed up 
the rugged acclivities, where an unspeakably grand 
spectacle presented itself to our gaze. The whole 
country to the north and east, far beyond the limits of 
the eye's range, mountains and valleys, rocks and 
chasms, all lay bathed in one mighty mass of bright 
blazing fire. • Not knowing which way to take, for 
the devouring element came crackling and hissing 
nearer to the spot where we stood, I turned to my 
servants, and inquired for the path we could safely 
pursue ; but as they were in terror of the hyenas and 
leopards, whose howls and yells rung ominously through 
the illuminated night air, they only thought of their 
own safety, and, whether I followed or not, they sped 



94 ORAND SCENE. 

on, between creaking trees and flaming grasses, towards 
a black spot which was faintly visible through the fitful 
conflagration. The hot and clammy vapours which 
every gust of wind drove straight across our path, 
parched our lips, and produced a suffocating sen- 
sation in our heaving chests, still we dared not stop, 
but were compelled to hasten on, in search of a safe 
retreat. Now and then the fierce blaze, leaping and 
tossing in uncontrollable rage over every opposing 
barrier, presented a sight that filled the beholder 
with wonder, awe, and delight. A huge mountain 
just opposite to our path, around which the lurid 
flame rolled its desolating flood, afibrded a sight I 
shall never forget. Now the red fire lighted it up 
to its summit with an intense bright glow; now 
volumes of thin white smoke suffused it with ghastly 
hues ; anon, again, the ever-shifting winds shrouded it 
in impenetrable darkness. I watched for some time 
this grand rampart which, like a rock amidst the 
lashing waves, bade defiance to the devouring ele- 
ments, when suddenly a severe blast swept a fiery 
torrent through the blackened underwood into furrows 
clothed with rank grass, and in an instant the white 
vapoury clouds, ignited by the freshening breeze, 
spread upwards and around till the whole mountain, 
to its wooded summit, flared and flickered in a 
blood-red flame, that diffused a glaring light for 
many miles over the surrounding country. The 
millions of glowing sparks that fell in sparkling 
showers from the burning trees expedited our march, 
apd we were truly grateful when we reached the outr 



A ROYAL CITY. 95 

skirts of this Tophet, with no other injury than a few 
blisters, and very sore feet. A peasant, near whose 
abode we alighted, hospitably offered us the shelter of 
his roof, but the vast sheet of fire which was still 
blazing in all directions, induced me to prefer 
fronting the approaching foe tinder the open vault 
of heaven rather than in a dry and hiflaniuiable 
shed. Happily, our night's rest was not broken by 
the spread of the conflagration, and we rose from 
the clotty ground that had formed our common couch, 
a little aching in our limbs, yet refreshed enough 
to pursue our journey over the desolate, smouldering 
tracts towards the fertile fields and green meadows of 
Debra Tabor. 

It was midday before we came in sight of the hill 
around whose base and terraced sides clustered, 
gorgeously illuminated in the sun's meridian rays, 
a mass of mean, tottering huts, which, on a 
nearer view, I thought must have been purposely 
erected to give a name to the locality, though subse- 
quent information convinced me that the miserable 
state of this royd city was the result of its fre- 
quent occupation by hordes of rapacious and i)ro- 
fligate troops, who drove away all the families that were 
respectable, and, in their stead, peopled the vacant 
dwellings with a reckless multitude of the shaiiu*- 
less, the dissolute, and the abandoned. A few 
isolated huts, of a larger size and superior construction, 
that stoixl on the brow of tU^* hill, niv servants 
pointed out to me as the future residence of the King 
and his newly-aflianced bride, the daughter of his late 



96 THE POLITE GOVERNOR. 

captive. Baa Oubie, of Tigre. The ans^htly and for- 
lorn town, abounding with slimy puddles that afforded 
a luxuriant growth to a rank vegetation, and a num- 
ber of shaky hovels, where {ovi and polluting vice held 
their perpetual carnival, presented a striking contrast 
to the lovely panoranfa of green fields, shady groves, 
lofty mountains and towering rooks by which it was 
environed. I did not stay in this horrible place 
longer than was absolutely necessary for a hasty 
visit to the Governor, a bland debauchee, whose 
back and purse had already many a time— and that, 
too, without effecting any improvement — smarted 
under the lash of his royal master. He was all 
smiles and compliments ; but as I knew how to inter- 
pret these, I put an end to the tedious interview by 
requesting a daldarada* to conduct me to Gaff at. An 
athletic young black, one of the Governor's own 
attendants, was immediately charged with my guar- 
dianship, and in the company of this cheerful and 
lively guide, we trudged on to our destination. 

In the march across the plain, where beds of lovely- 
coloured lilies and scented shrubs grew in the wildest 
profusion, we passed the isolated estate of a wealthy 
country gentleman, whose extensive tracts of uncul- 
tivated land did not augur well for his thrifty or indus- 
trious mode of life. My famished servants, anxious 
for some refreshment, greatly lauded the haal beifsf 
cheer and hospitality ; but I had already had too 

* A haldaraba is an ollicial intrusted with a traveller's safety, 
and also occaHionally with the supply of his wants, 
t Master of the house. 



^^P DISAPPOINTED IlOPItS. !)?■ 

'*'teli experience of Abyssinian generosity and disiifl 

^ft«ted kindness to deviate from the road for tl^| 

*fite of a hornful of uudrinkable beer, and the prcsafl 

'Ig importunity to repay it by presents of more tliafl 

* fatindrcdfoM its value. V 

The report that a successor to the assassinatetH 

Consul Plowden had arrived, created quite a stir inM 

tl>e little village of Salamago, close to Gaffat. Th™ 

begging priests, and their equally mendicant floclcs^ 

>X-paired in a mass to the road to welcome in ifl 

becoming style the new bache bualal : and I quitfl 

Sjraimthized with them in tlie disnppointment thejB 

VsodiHgiiisedly manifested, when the cup of hope, fu^| 

lo the brim with hi/drome}, beads, and all sorts of othetV 

good things, wiis thus cruelly dashed to the graund.V 

Several accompanied me up the hill to Gaffal, but thog 

majority skidked to their hovels and behind their trees,4 

quite disgusted with the Frank, his jaded mule, and bog-fl 

garly retinae. n 

At Gaffat, the residence of the late British Consul,* 
1 expected to find a clean and habitable dwelling, but 
one glimpse at the interior of the several huts made my 
heart sink into desi)ondency at the bare prospect of 
cleansing one of these Augean stables, and making it fit 
for a temporary domicile. The central one, which ha( 
cviilcntly, since Mr. Plowden 's departure, served as i 

* Mr. Plowilen was iiot recogiiisc'd in lib oflidnl capacity b 
tile Ring, nor is it vcvy likely timl tlie iluep prejudice and u 
■no of his Mnj«Ntj townrds politicul ngutitD will be removed t) 
the mnggeratcd reprosontAtions of iMinsnIur tmnMcliciiia I 
Egypt and Syria, vhich ft Htray pilgrim dow and thui lupc 



kind of coiiiiiKJii sUiUo to passing troops ] 
noigbltouriiig pciisantry's large hornoH cattlu, w^»1 
last fixed upon hy my scrvQiits, uud tliat, too, as tfi^ 
nn'ivily ussnri'tl me. Tor the simple reason that Imit 
wen; cl-jiiuT tljan ini.ii, .-ind the living coiicomitiinU fM 



mow abundant uiiil Iroublesoiui! in a human ( 
than in au animal's pen. I silunlly acquiesced in thUl 
iirraugcnient, which I felt sure they wouUI not buTcl 
suggested witliout ample cxpmenco to justify thcl 
proposition. 



99 



CHAPTER VII. 

^^fopean Visitors — Character of the Abyssinians — Hospitality 
no Virtue — Broundo Feast — Voracious Appetite — Hail- 
storm — Ascent of the Gu7ia — ^Magnificent Prospect — A Law- 
less District — A Mohammedan Village — Dangerous Excur- 
sion — Speedy Termination — Meeting with the Primate. 

Three days after my arrival at Gaffat^ I was visited 
by Messrs. Bcwder and Kienzlen, two of the six 
German artisans who were sent to Abyssinia by the 
Bishop of Jerusalem in the hope that by the intro- 
duction of useful trades, and the exhibition of a pure 
faith, former prejudices against Europeans might be 
lemoved, and the King and his nominal Christian 
subjects become more favourably disposed towards 
the reception of an unadulterated Gospel, and the 
eftbrts of missionaries. The visit of two Europeans 
in that wild and strange land, where I had not a 
friend or companion beyond parties of pestering, 
and importuning native mendicants, was indeed 
a great relief to my mind, in the utter loneliness and 
solitude to which, till the arrival of my companion, I 
should otherwise have been hopelessly doomed. My 
new acquaintances, who had been more than five 
years in the country, gave me much useful informa- 
tion about Abyssinia and its population. The King 

n 2 



100 FALSB CIVILITY. 

they held in high esteem for his probity of sentiment, 
purity of life, and singleness of purpose; but in 
reference to his subjects, they certainly could only 
re-echo what I had from the first day noticed, that 
they were a false, treacherous, and insolent race — 
absurdly superstitious in their religious belief, and re- 
voltingly obscene in their domestic relations — insolent 
to an inferior, and cringing and servile to a superior — 
at one time declaring that they had entirely departed 
from the faith of the Gospel, and a minute after con- 
tending that their creed had the signet of St. Mark 
for its authenticity, and the example of wonder-work- 
ing saints for its inviolable defence ; — a nation, in fact, 
so debased in mind and vitiated in heart, that not- 
withstanding their physical and intellectual superiority 
to every other African tribe, they vie with all in truth- 
lessness, cunning, and moral depravity. 

My pretended friend, the Asash of Begemedcr^ who 
had been so excessively civil at Debra Tabor^ entirely 
forgot the stranger consigned to him by his royal 
master when at Gaffat, and had not Mr. Bell's servant 
kindly provided us with bread and hydrorael, we 
might, during the festivities of Easter, when nothing 
is procurable for love or money, have been reduced to 
short allowance and very low diet. The arrival of the 
King's employes^ together with some soldiers and a 
royal purveyor attached to their establishment, pro- 
duced an instantaneous change in the conduct of the 
worthy Asash, and before night the land, lately so 
sterile and unproductive, yielded an abundance of 
bread, beer, pepper, and other delicacies, not except- 



BROUNDO. 101 

^ even a broundo devoted live cow. The poor beast, 
*cojred fix)m the browsing herd, lowed mournfully 
^ if conscious of its impending fate. There was 
^me discussion as to its quality and size, and though 
tiese were not considered of the strictly orthodox 
standard, still the majority voted for its immolation in 
pious deference to the festive solemnities of the week. 
This decision being unanimously adopted, the uncon- 
scious animal was quietly led to a plot of clean grass, 
where the sacrificial ministers, with their greedy eyes 
fiill of delight, awaited their victim. The sturdy 
quadruped made a desperate effort to escape from 
its assailants ; but its kicks, bounds, and contortions 
were all in vain, and it fell, sweltering and groaning, 
on the fatal ground. In a trice, a sharp, glittering 
blade leaped out of its sheath, and ere the usual for- 
mula* had been distinctly pronounced, the dumb 
beast lay bathed in its own blood. The quivering 
carcass was at once attacked by a score of hungry 
savages, and flesh, bones, and even entrails^ mangled 
and torn, hurried to our hut. 

Our miserable abode, which, notwithstanding all the 
rushes and grass that had been strewn over its littered 
and dirty floor, looked still loathsome enough, was 
now, from the effluvia of reeking meat, and the larded 
shamas of visitors and servants, rendered absolutely 
revolting. My powers of endurance, though often 
tested to the utmost stretch, here entirely failed me, 
and had not my companions assured me that no 

* The meat of all animals is unlawful to an Abyssinian 
Christian if not slaughtered in the name of the blessed Trinity. 



I»li T:>3iin 



-wimir J^ir.iri liz esL^LZhtopcnrntoi d 



i£ irmi'^Tnc arae f^ Kir±"f errkjoj; eyes, I woul 

lue jTura ic 117 iitaiT^Trr iifrref^ The preparations 
iir Zhi iasc "zrr.vs n.w nimpttiCciL groaj^ of hiingrjr 
ia^^us 3t±!£in. jj iriiiira. apriT'irf i&e' iDonnds of raw 
itsL mil h: ^ v:r£ :c crcn^jiii fncnn the head 
ssr^TDL — lif TT;2.<wfr :c 'JSai c'^^r.ojonT — each one 
eagfCT iisTiffrpti 1 coj:^^ :r r*:oe Ixswceo his sharp 
^KO. lOiL viu a pr.xLppQs appedie, nmnched and 
isr3i]i:v:^c ihs ii'^^cr lii. Xbe durnel-hoiise smell, 
kne jiioi jzd zrcz^x r^rcise of the Irom^do eaters* 
TTiwcarac^ cczacs. azi :he Siibl light produced by 
a sarcesam o£ v;LX-^p9icd rags, together nith the 
s^rcizz i::-i bird bg^!:£:h'r.g of the mules in the oppo- 
se eiirLe to ie fcsdre bcMinl, formed a scene of bar- 
hirccs cccifor: unique in character and exceedingly 
strarze in liste. For ab?ut an hour I watched the 
gofgins prrcess of the insatiable guests ; but as their 
vc^acirr was incie elastic than mr patience, I threw 
myself, in perfect despair of seeing the tenuination of 
the banquet, on the damp rushes, and under the not 
over-pleasant lullaby of smacking hps, soon sank into 
a happy forgetfulncss of the country as well as the 
people amongst whom I was sojourning. 

In the morning, when I awoke, my first glance was 
directed towards the spot where the raw repast had 
been spread, and where I still expected to behold sub- 
stantial remains of the preceding night's carousal ; 
but, though I rubbed and strained my doubting eyes, 
not a vestige of meat was visible, not a single joint 



GLUTTON r. 103 

**^ad escaped demolition. " They have surely not eaten 

^lat whole cx)w ? " I interrogatively said to my two 

^risitors. The query did not elicit their siUTprise ; on 

^fae contrary, with the greatest gravity they told me 

that a hungry Abyssinian could swallow down 

almost incredible quantities of broundo. What I 

subsequently witnessed, and also heard from others, 

quite convinced me of the truth of Aboona Salama^s 

trite remark, in a conversation about the numerous 

fasts in his Church. " My people," rejoined the 

primate to the question addressed to him, " are a 

gluttonous set, and if they were permitted to indulge 

in animal food every day, the race of domestic cattle 

would soon be extinct in the land." 

The isolated position of Gaffat, the uncertainty of 
the King's next expedition, and the general dread of a 
surprise from Gerat and his lawless wandering ban- 
ditti, all these circumstances induced us, on the 
arrival of our luggage, to decide on proceeding to 
Tshatshaho, a distance of about sixty miles further 
south, where Messrs. Kienzlen and Bender, with a few 
hundred Gallas, were occupied in making roads. Our 
resolution being highly approved of by the erratic 
natives whom I had enlisted in our service, every one 
sedulously busied himself in hastening the departure. 
The viatorial condition of the country, which, since 
the Queen of Sheba's pilgrimage, has evidently 
undergone no improvement, opposed a serious ob- 
stacle to the locomotion of ourselves and baggage 
over the graceless limbs of the giant Gufia. Hap- 



:j4 a 

-jUj ^ve jstd huaaij secured a putr of peasants U^ 
^ muiwr mr aevry pocsaoes^ aod a reqosite nunir 
!«• :f T-:m.iiii x ^arrj ne lizi&er arddes, whilst our 
JW71 TixiiV sernms wok k=pc in reserre as a corps of 
r>^£ . md "iius funisdeffi vidi aQ the necessary means 
of ^san^pon. WQ sctfuc i Qsv sil;^ in thick, substantial 
JaJiui la iimfj :iie lan^rr and thirsty multitude, 
ami :2iini 3ec ::m ou :iir izGrraeT. 

m m 

A aea^ scLcwifr ■:£ rain, accompanied by vivid 
i£ishe( of 5gtLC7Ti:Tg :ind kad bursts of thunder, with- 
oat any oc the hsuul prMnonicory symptoms, most 
cspcidcusly ovencck u:s dtiring the firsi half hour*s 
macdL Our pecpLe. acctjjstomjed to such freaks of 
nature ancecediect re their winter, quickly folded up 
their j§i<imait^ and^ wich their nude backs exposed to 
the pouring torrents, merrily trod the saturated and 
slippery earth. The ascent up one of the rugged shoul- 
ders of the G'fJta^ after a day's good toil, severely 
tested our aching and w^jaried limbs. We had already 
clambered an altitude of more than a thousand 
feet, when we heard a rambling and rattling noise 
overhead, and, on lookmg in the direction of 
the sound, we saw a hail-storm rapidly drifting 
towards us. Without an instant's dclav, and as if 
pursued by a foe, all who were unencumbered 
with burdeiis bounded, panting and gasping, in the 
direction of a grove of kosso-trees, which promised a 
safe retreat. Our porters no sooner saw the race 
than they also imagined that their gun-proof skulls 
were in danger from the pelting hail, and, in the 



AIRY QUARTERS. 105 

r gnatest consternation, they threw down tlicir loads, 

and scampered after us as fast as thfir friglit and the 

slipfierj- path allowed tliem. 

The hail, after half an hour's dnrntion, abated, and 

L *t could venturt;, without danger either to head or 

■*Tes, to resume agaiii our upland journey. It was a 

! spectacle to see the whole country, which a 

e before was all smiling in vernal blooni, thus sud- 

4;nly shrouded in a kind of unbleached mantle of 

hintry white: but Abyssinia is the laud of extremes, 

ind rain and sunshine, oppressive heats and chilling 

lists, alternate almost regularly during the four 

Months which constitute the winter season. 

The ascent increased in wild rnggedncss as we 

"»dranced. On all sides dark and gloomy prtrcipiccs 

obstnicted the view and tcnninatcd our path. Now 

we mounted a slippery height, where a false step 

tiuld have hnrled us into ravines of unfathomable 

!ptb ; DOW we crept through a rocky cleft, along 

■rliose furrowed sides the melting hail leaped in foam- 

; cascades; and now again, with hands and feet 

flly fixed in the crumbling soil, we crept cautiously 

all fours up a tortuous and shelving pathway, which 
minnted in a broad meadow or tract of pasture land. 

Hen: we found a little villagu to house our servants 
kbilst we pitched the tent, and on the wet grass, and 

1 A pure and invigorating atmosphere, passed a most 
comfortable and refreshing night. 

_ Early in the morning, we mode an excursion to the 
ummit of the Gma. The air, when we 
tart«d, was still raw, cold, and biting; but we anti- 



106 WHITE FOG. 

cipatcd that the rising sun would soon dispel the 
sharp frosty atmosphere, and diffuse a genial warmth 
over the wet and saturated earth. Our expectations 
were doomed to disappointment, for the bright lord of 
day had scarcely looked on the quiet creation that 
awaited his smiling beams when, instead of imparting 
the usual fresh tinge of the rose to the towering 
mountains and undulating dells, he tantalized us by 
wrapping every hollow and hill in a winding- 
sheet of ghastly death. The steaming vapours 
unrolled themselves at first in the lower regions, 
but gradually they rose higher and higher; now 
encircling with a silvery cestus a huge isolated cliff, 
and now, again, obscuring the bold outlines of an 
inaccessible mountain range. We already regretted 
our expedition, and longed to be ensconced under the 
snug canopy of our canvas ; but as to retreat would 
have been quite as difficult as to advance, we resolved 
to defy the chilling, clammy fog in order to accomplish 
our object. The guides, who were as much at home 
in the labyrinthine confusion of these alpine heights 
as in their own sooty huts, carelessly threaded their 
way through the dense gloom, whilst we, conscious of 
numberless dangers, were almost afraid to move. 

A quivering, rainbow-like gleam was now visible 
on the western horizon, but its unsteady light kept us 
for a few minutes in doubt whether to attribute it to 
lightning, or the piercing beams of the sun's rays. 
Our gaze, which was intently fixed on that glim- 
mering spot, did not linger long in uncertainty, for 
a few gusts of wind which came sighing through 



SUMMIT OF THE GUNA. 107 

the fissures and clefts of the rocks, burst the heavmg 
vapoury curtain, and unfolded to our enraptured sight 
a scene indescribably grand and magnificent. There, 
to the north, rose, in every imaginable shape and form, 
the mountains of BelleaaUy from whose hoary summits 
and sloping declivities hundreds and thousands of bold 
warriors have often poured down to defend their religion 
and home against the inroads of pagan Gallaa^ and 
the assaults of Mohammedan conquerors ; westward 
spread the noble, broad plain of Dembeay intersected 
by numerous groves and villages, with the Tzana to 
protect it towards Ala/a and Bagossa, and a dark belt 
of indistinct hills for its ramparts on the side where it 
abuts on Tachelga and Quara ; to the right, and far 
away in the airy distance, could be traced, in a south- 
south-westerly direction, the faint outlines of Godjam^ 
the land where coffee grows and gold is found, and 
where the blue Nile, one of the sources of Egypt's 
fertility, has its rise ; whilst a sombre shadowy line 
along the blue sky in the north-east, defined the chain 
of rocks and mountains which encircle with an 
adamantine wall the sacred pilgrim-land of Laata, 

1 could have loitered here in communion with 
nature and nature's God for many, many hours, had 
not the effect of the atmosphere, at this elevation of 
14,670 English feet above the level of the Mediter- 
ranean, been too oppressive to my lungs ; and, unwill- 
ing as I felt to move, a suffocating sensation drove me 
from the rocky and barren summit. The vegetation, 
which at the highest altitude consisted only of some 
lichens and heather, 2,000 feet lower down was of a 



108 DAY OP REST. 

rich verdure, enamelled with beds of lovely-coteured 
lilies and the tapering jubara, a species of huge lobelia. 

Our descent down the giddy precipices and rounded 
hills was far more expeditious than the safety of our 
limbs and bones warranted, but as practice had already 
made us dexterous adepts in the art of climbing, roll- 
ing, and sliding, we accomplished our excursion with 
no injury beyond a few scratches . and the loss of a 
piece or two of stuff in our dress. A repast of dUlik 
and bread was hastily swallowed, and then each one 
strapped on his burden, and through dark defiles 
sought his way to the plain of Zahor. 

The following day we came within an hour's walk 
of Tshalahaho, but as our people were all tired 
and footsore, we unloaded near a few solitary huts, 
and in the midst of an amphitheatre of everlasting 
mountains and castellated rocks that revealed in every 
fissure and gorge the most sublime and imposing 
vistas, we determined to spend our Christian Sabbath 
of rest. 

Early on Monday we set out for the Amba occu- 
pied by the King's European employ^. The spot 
being so very near to our last halting-place, we thought 
that a comfortable morning walk would bring us once 
more to the home of civilized men ; but, owing to the 
wretched road we had to traverse, it took us several 
hours' continuous toil to reach the steep and abrupt 
Amba on which they were perched. 

This district, which bears all the marks of a 
fearful . volcanic convulsion, was, till the accession 
of King Theodoros, the infamous abode of the rob- 



LAWLESS DISTRICT. 



loy 



, and the refuge where housed secure the mur- 
Bcrer. R/is Alt, the governor of the country, was 
I weak and also too dissipated to trouble himself 
^ his mud castle at Dehra Tabor about these rulhans, 
**lit 110 sooner did the present ruler mount the throne 
*liaii the severest chastisements and the most terrible 
''(.•tribution was inflicted on the lawless miscreants. In 
the but of one man alone, I was told, there were 
Tutind more than fifty skall-caps of monks who bad 
fallen victims to his rapacity and violence, whilst the 
domicilfs and dt-na of others abounded in equally 
liurrid trophies of their bloody trade. These haunts, 
formerly so dangerous, are at present remarkably safe ; 
ziud the traveller who dreads not an adventurous cn- 
ounter with a leopard or a pack of hyenas which 
lere abound, can traverse the whole of Tshatshaho by 
lay or night with perfect impunity. I made several ex- 
Drsions iu the neighbourhood, and invariably, both in 
She Christian and Mohammedan villages, experienced 
t most kind and cordial reception. 

The followers of the Arabian prophet, though not 
kumerous, except in Gojidar, arc still to be found in 
■mull bands all over the country. Their principal 
Kcupation is traffic ; and this they carry on with 
|B ehmwdness, tact, and cunning, that have more than 
ponce arrested a popular outburst of bigotry against 
the proscribed unbelievers, and procured them im- 
munity from grievous exactions and perhaps utter 
aliation. Id the village of which I took the accom- 
»nyirg iketch, there were only a few huts, but tl 




the most gt'uemiis hospitality tuwanls i 
visitor. 

It WAS now the middle of Miiy, nntl the poricH 
the rainy season was rapidly approaching. Our tented 
home on thejmdfi, though pleasant eiiougli during an 
equatorial aummcr, did uut at all prove an inviting 
shelter in raiuy and stormy weathLT. Messrs. Deader 
and Kicnzleii, it is true, klmlly voluutcerud to assist me 
iu rearing hiita to protect us against those drenchiug 
torrents which had already luauy ii night compelled us 
to 5lee|) srvi;nil lucrhes deep iu water ; but as my gnat 



DANGEROUS EXCURSION. Ill 

^xiety was to pay a visit to the Aboona, which I knew 
^ swelling rivers between Tshatshafio and Magdala* 
^onld ere long render impracticable, I resolved, 
notwithstanding all unfavourable and intimidating 
ftports, to proceed to that remote spot, and confer 
personally with the head of the Abyssinian Church on 
tile subject of our Mission. 

Our servants — and one is obliged in Habesh to keep 
igood number, as the grinding of wheat, the baking 
^4f bread, fetching water, cutting wood, and all other 
■iM68tic matters must be done by the baal beifs 
lllltl ilinl iment— when they heard of my intention, 
lithoat exception gave notice that they would rather 
iemre our service than accompany me on my journey, 
vfaere, at every step, they were in danger of falling 
into the power of Galla hordes, who were burning 
and plundering Daunt and all the other districts round 
and near Magdala. The attractive power of a hand- 
some present at last induced two to yield to my solici- 
tation ; and, accompanied by these and a soldier, who 
had some business at Magdala^ I set out on my lonely 
and wearisome expedition. 

Our first hour's march, over the rain-satuiatcd 
plain, was as cheerless as the reveries which occupied 
my mind; but no sooner did we reach the woody 
mountains and inhale the cold invigorating morning 

* Tli«? Beshihy which is the hirgest river on the roiul to 
M(uj(JUda haa its rise in Yetahu, In the south of Daunt it 
unites itself with the Djiddah, passes by Artuiraj and then 
empties itself into the Ahai, The depth of its bed where the 
traveller in coming from TsIiaUtludio must cross it is 3,500 feet 
below the level of its rocky banks. 



112 PRELATICAL PRIDE. 

breeze, than all sad forebodings vanished, and I began 
to feel quite sure that my journey, instead of termi- 
nating, as it had been prognosticated, in a long im- 
prisonment at Magdala^ or in captivity or else violent 
death among the WoUo Galla, would be of very short 
duration, and have, with God's blessing, a most 
successful issue. These lucubrations, as some who 
have never been placed in a similar position may 
terra them, were entirely occupying my thoughts, 
when I heard a shrill voice announcing the approach 
of a great man; and in looking towards the lofty 
heights, along which our path was wipding, I espied 
numerous groups of soldiers and servants emerging 
out of the luxuriant trees and bushes ; and in coming 
up to them, they gave us the welcome intelligence 
that the Aboona was in the rear, on his way to Debra 
Tabor, to marry the King to a daughter of Dejatck 
Of/bie, the late Governor of Tigr^. 

With trembling anxiety I now gazed towards the 
smiling landscape to obtain a glimpse of the great 
Churchman. The steady tramp of mules, and the 
gliniiner of a scarlet-covered episcopal chair, an- 
nouiicod the proximity of the procession. I instantly 
cjuittrd my saddle, and with bared head and de- 
frroiitial obeisance, awaited the holy man's arrival. 
IIii was mufTled and wrapped up in silk shawls, 
HO (hat he could scarcely see any object further than 
luH sacKllo's high pommel; but even when informed of 
\\\y prosiuicc, he merely lifted his silk drapery and 
gave a glance quite sufficient to chill the blood 
in n\y veins. Not at all daunted or irritated 



FALSE SUSPICION. • 113 

by this contemptaous salutation, I again mounted 
my mule, and, without waiting for an invitation, 
joined the moving cavalcade. Squads of men and 
women, with a good sprinkling of priests and monks 
amongst them, at very short intervals, lined the road ; 
but although they prostrated themselves in the dust and 
dirt before their Primate, it afforded me some satisfac^* 
tion to perceive that they were not treated with more 
courtesy than myself. Nearly two hours' march had 
already been accompUshed, and still there was no 
indication of a halt, and no change in the slow, grave, 
and dignified motion of the train. I asked several 
gloomy and sinister-looking priests, when and where 
their chief would alight ; but all that I could elicit from 

these obtuse, taciturn beings was, Alokom ("don't 

« 

know"). Determined to get rid of all torturing sus* 
pense, I rode up to the side of the Aboona's confessor, 
Kes Yoseph^ and requested him to procure me an 
interview. Without deigning a reply, he ambled away, 
and in a few minutes more the Aboona, the confessor, 
and myself, were seated under the shady foliage of 
blossoming euphorbias, and conversing in a familiar 
and unembarrassed strain. He at first surmised that 
I had made the mission to the Jews a cover to tamper 
more insidiously with the belief of the Christians, but 
my reiterated solemn assurances that our sole aim and 
desire was to bring the Falashas to the knowledge of 
the Saviour, removed all his suspicions, and elicited his 
full and unquaHfied permission to preach and hold 
assemblies in every Jewish settlement throughout hi 
vast diocese. 

I 



114 .THE EPISCOPAL SCRIP. 

The episcopal scrip being well stored with the good 
things of this life, we had a sumptuous breakfast on 
the greensward, before starting for our different des- 
tinations. On parting, the worthy Prelate urged me 
to return to Debra Tabor, in order to congratulate the 
King on his auspicious marriage, and also to afford 
him more frequent opportunity of friendly intercourse. 
Thus did an overruling and gracious Providence allay 
all my fears, and remove every obstacle to the free 
and unimpeded proclamation of the Gospel among 
the thousands and myriads of perishing Israelites in 
that remote and sin-stained land. 



115 



CHAPTER VIII. 

Departure from Tshatshaho — Strolling Minstrels — Royal 
Nuptials — Objections to Indissoluble Marriages — Royal 
Banquet — Mendicants — Congratulatory Visit 

The servants are busy, the mules are saddled, 
the tent is folded up, and everything indicates a 
grand movement among the occupants of the Amba. 
Our German officials, clad in aristocratic shamas, 
and mounted on beautiful mules, which gaily paw 
the ground as if conscious of bearing Imperial sad- 
dles and of going to an Imperial wedding, lead the 
well-regulated body of shurns and soldiers which 
constitutes the van, whilst we, borne along on 
stupid decrepit brutes, bring up the servants and 
porters, who form the rear. Printing and news- 
papers being still blessings reserved for Afric's future, 
our numerous retinue, to satisfy their eager curi- 
osity, pounce upon every wayfarer whom we en- 
counter, and regularly cross-question him about the 
King, and the festal arrangements in honour of 
his auspicious nuptials. As we advanced, a party of 
strolling minstrels, which consisted of a cunning old 
scamp, a lad, and two young women, on emerging out 
of a hollow caught sight of us, and, notwithstanding 
our entreaties, they bawled and shrieked to the 

j2 



116 STROLLING MINSTRELS. 

accompaniment of an antique-shaped lyre, strapped 
round their leader's shrunken shoulders, in a chorus 
that certainly did credit to their lungs, though it 
inflicted a terrible penance on our ears. I would 
willingly have paid the contribution which these 
vagrants are licensed to levy on the traveller, had it 
only procured us immunity from their noise and com- 
pany ; but as I was told that it would be an unpar- 
donable offence to silence those who sang the praises 
of the King, and the charms of his youthful spouse, 
we were, in deference to royalty, forced for more than 
an hour to submit our ears to a most agonizing 
torture. 

On coming nearer Debra Tabor, all was animation 
and activity. The wide tracts of meadow-land, a few 
weeks before so lonely and desolate, were now dotted 
with herds of browsing cattle, and the roads, formerly 
so deserted and untrodden, were thronged by detach- 
ments of troops and knots of peasants. I was 
astonished to see each of the latter carrying one or 
two unwashed little urchins astride upon their 
tawny shoulders, as if just retm*ning from a grand 
exhibition of children ; but on inquiring, I learnt 
that they were devout parents, who had sacrificed a 
few salts to secure their offspring the episcopal bene- 
diction. 

In the royal city itself all was gaiety, mirth, and 
dirt. Men and women, lazy beggars, and loathsome 
dwarfs, rioted in piggish gluttony and noisome orgies. 
Our appearance amongst this mixed multitude excited 
the most intense curiosity ; and all, as if prompted 



SUMMONS TO THE IMPERIAL BANQUET. 117 

ty one general impulse, fixed their dark staring eyes 
on us, as if inclined to question our right to come 
amongst them. We took no notice of this gaping 
and whispering throng, but slowly and unconcernedly 
rode up the rugged and narrow path which led to the 
tut of an acquaintance, where we alighted from our 
mules, and soon found ourselves in the midst of a 
respectable and courteous circle of chieftains and 
officers. 

A messenger from the Imperial residence, now sum-^ 
xnoned us to breakfast, but as I thought that a short 
fioze would be far more refreshing than all the detch 
and broundo in the world, I stretched myself on a 
^well-worn alga^ and to the tingle of the baal-beita^ 
mules' bells, sank into a happy sleep. I do not know 
Iiow long I had indulged in this luxury to the weary, 
when I felt some one pulling my feet. I thought at 
first that it was my companion who had dropt off imder 
a tree on the road, but a second more energetic pinch, 
coupled with something indistinct about Jane Hoi^ 
startled me out of my repose. I felt just in a mood 
to interrogate the intruder about his rudeness, when 
another fellow, flaunting an aristocratic silken kamees,* 
came, to his assistance, and nolens volens, I was led 
between these two chocolate-coloured athletes to the 
Imperial banqueting hall, where Mr. Bell and a good 
number of State dignitaries were busy in demolish- 
ing mounds of feff, and whole carcasses of fresh-slaugh- 

* A silken shirt in Hahesh^ like a knightly order in Europe, 
is conferred on individuals of distinguished merit, but no one 
elne dare don this luxurious ai*ticle. 



118 ROYAL COURTSHIP. 

tered beef. My friend, who had played an important 
and distinguished part in combating the religious 
scruples of the royal widower to a second marriage, 
and in bringing about this new matrimonial alliance, 
was in the highest glee. During our repast he cur- 
sorily narrated to me the business-like courtship of 
His Ethiopian Majesty. 

According to the canons of the Abyssinian Church, 
the King is bound by the same marital laws as a 
priest; and, consequently, if his wife dies, he dare 
not marry another. The bereaved predecessors of 
Theodores scrupulously evaded such a contingency by 
substituting the regularly stored harem in the place 
of the one lawful wife, but from this disreputable and 
sinful practice the honourable mind of the present 
ruler justly shrank, and as he had no inclination 
to crouch before brainless ecclesiastics, to obtain 
their license either to break or to obey a divine insti- 
tution, he took his Bible, and, with the assistance of 
Mr. Bell, carefully investigated the various passages 
bearing on the question at issue. The inquiry 
proving satisfactory to the royal conscience, the faith- 
ful and trusty Lik-a-maquas was despatched to the 
Church where the destined Queen and her mother had 
for several years found a safe asylum against the 
ailiu"ements of vice, and the violence of lawless rebels. 
Mr. B. himself had to devise the most elaborate plan 
to protect the bride from the sight of any but female 
eyes. To do this in a manner so that no malignant 
and envious tongue should be able to impugn liis 
fidelity to a kind master, he ordered, immediately on 



ESCORT OF THE FUTURE QUEEN. 119 

arriving near the sanctuary^ a wide enclosure to be 
constructed from the tents, of which he had an 
ample stock. This being done, the bride, swathed 
and muffled like a mummy, was led by her mother 
and a bevy of waiting-women within the fence, 
where, gorgeously caparisoned mules held by slaves 
stood ready for her and her nearest relatives to 
mount. 

All being again in their saddles, a dozen horsemen 
rode on in advance to keep the road clear, whilst 
their leader and the rest waited at a respectful dis- 
tance till the female cavalcade had filed off, when 
they also set their steeds in motion and followed in 
the rear. The etiquette observed on the first day was 
rigorously maintained throughout the whole journey. 
At Debra Taboty the happy lady, who was won with- 
out being wooed, and got a husband without ever 
seeing a lover, met from the King and his numerously 
assembled subjects the most gratifying and en- 
thusiastic reception. 

In Abyssinia, where civil mamages have almost 
superseded the solemn unions of the Church, scarcely 
one in a hundred will have recourse to a religious 
ceremony to cement indissolubly the bond between 
himself and his affianced. A certain agreement by 
which the husband binds himself to pay a stipulated 
number of cows and shamas to his wife, is all that 
is requisite; and then they may, perhaps, become 
attached to each other, and live in peace and conjugal 
bliss ; or, as it frequently happens, they may become 
disgusted with each other after the lapse of a brief 



120 BINDING MARRIAGES. 

period, and separate. During the past few years, 
many chieftains, in order to please their sovereign, 
who abhors these licentious alliances, have sought the 
Church's sacrament to hallow and to confirm their 
matrimonial vow ; and were it not that the ignorant 
and fanatic priesthood deny this sacred rite to the 
majority of applicants, conjugal fidelity and hallowed 
affection would soon supplant gross sensuality and 
foul vice. The King's civil marriage being attested 
by a jubilant nation, nothing else was requisite 
to make it lasting and secure than the holy com- 
munion, and this the happy pair received in grand 
state the week following from the hands of the 
Aboona, who had been specially summoned from 
Magdala to perform the solemn act. 

Our conversation had already lasted a considerable 
time, and still the appetite of the guests did not 
appear to flag. An old monk, the chief of the royal 
cuisine^ began to get impatient ; the royal purveyors 
glanced despairingly at the insatiable feeders, even the 
arms of the ^ro/zwrfb-bearing slaves shook nervously, 
as if unable to sustain much longer the weight im- 
posed on them ; still there was no cessation ; the 
broad knives and crooked swords continued to be 
energetically plied close to the mouth, to my no small 
dread lest, in the hurry and eagerness to do justice to 
the royal board, one or other of the guests should 
chop off a lip or a nose instead of a morsel of meat 
or icpsy. There being no prospect that the feeding 
business would soon come to a termination, myself 
and the few other Europeans present folded our 



PROFESSIONAL BEGGARS. 121 

shamas around us, and, to the delight of several 
baal kameesy who were sighing to get nearer to 
the pyramids of teff and gumbos of detch, made our 
exit. 

Close under the crumbling parapet that fenced in 
the royal premises, hordes of mendicants, clad and 
unclad, sound and diseased, some smitten with the 
curse of leprosy, others with virulent scrofula, in 
promiscuous confusion lay hideously exposed in their 
own pest-creating atmosphere. On seeing us they all 
either stretched out their withered hands, or ghoulishly 
came hobbling near, and in the name of Kudos Michael^ 
Tecla Haimanot, or some other noted saint, almost 
forcibly demanded our charity. This mode of soliciting 
food or alms is in perfect harmony with the beggar s 
trade, nay a man's Christianity would be suspected 
were he to reprove the bluster and arrogance of these 
indolent and often vice-tainted vagrants. The King 
himself, from motives of mistaken piety, encourages 
this social bane, — hence> wherever he moves, bands of 
professional fakirs on mules and horses clog his steps 
and din his ear with their perpetual whine. On the 
present occasion one of my servants had accidentally a 
good supply of salts, and these I promptly distributed 
amongst the most squalid and wretched, who in 
retmn bestowed on me their elaborate blessings, whilst 
those who got nothing muttered their no less ardent 
and sincere maledictions. 

Late at noon we repaired again to the royal 
residence to attend a grand levee. The usual tumult 
in and around the Imperial premises was entirely 



122 CONGRATULATORY VISIT. 

hushed; and beggars and peasants, chieftains and 
their vassals, all with the shama girded round the 
waist, either noiselessly crept about to execute certain 
orders, or with hands clasped across their denuded 
chests, stood expectant of some command. 

His Majesty — who sat, in most unkingly style, on 
the loose uncemented stones of a dilapidated wall that 
overhung a dizzy dell, where thousands of veteran 
warriors, in heaving and surging masses, were congre- 
gated together — immediately, on hearing that we had 
come to pay our respects, turned towards us, and, in 
a clear, ringing voice said, "My children, you are 
welcome.'* This brief salutation, which really ex- 
pressed more than all those pathetic and farcical 
compliments, in which Abyssinians at every meeting 
indulge, was followed by some inquiries about Europe 
and the nations beyond Jerusalem. I told his Majesty 
that it was customary in our country to congratulate 
those who entered into the happy bond of matrimony, 
and that we gladly availed ourselves of our national 
practice to present to him our unfeigned wishes and 
prayers on the auspicious event, which had caused 
such universal and sincere joy throughout his Empire. 
" My people," he quickly replied, " arc bad ; they 
love rebellion and hate peace ; delight in idleness, and 
are averse to industiy ; but, if God continues to me 
my life," added he with glowing ardour, " I will 
eradicate all that is bad, and introduce all that is 
salutary and good." We spontaneously breathed our 
" Amen " to this hopeful prophecy of a man, who 
certainly has the will and inclination to raise his 



-. J 



LOFTY ASPIRATIONS. 123 

country from its present moral, social, and religious 
degradation, though unfortunately his defective edu- 
cation, uncontrollable ambition, and hasty temper, 
must all undergo a severe discipline, ere he can prove 
himself — as his flatterers pretend — worthy of the title 
and noble achievements which are to inaugurate, ac- 
cording to an old legend, the golden reign of the 
great Theodoros. On retiring he ordered that two 
cows should be given to each of us, and also that a 
large tent should be pitched for our accommodation in 
the vicinity of his residence. 



124 



CHAPTER IX. 



Dt^fWBsatioii of Justice — FeiAa Negtst — Reform of the C^' 
mmal Code — Paniskment of Traitors — Predilection for ^^ 
FrwKw^Hrs' TrMie — CnmioAl JurLspnidence — Places of i^^ 
fose— Ecaeaudcal Court— Priests in Chains— Prelati^ 



The grey streaks on the eastern horizon were ju^^ 
dispersing the dusky inists of dawn ; the hyenas wer^ 
hunring to their thickets and dens to enjoy repose^ 
after their saturnalia amongst piles of bones and 
offiJ, provided by a feasting army ; the shepherds and 
priests, usually so annoying with their grating and 
tedious inquiries about one or another belonging to 
their flocks, were either silently pursuing their re- 
spective vocations, or, in deference to Royalty, indulg- 
ing in an extra hour of slumber ; everything, in fact, 
the coolness of the atmosphere, the stillness of the 
scene, the heavj' weights on the eyelids, all conspired 
to make me hug the greasy coverlet and hard couch, 
when suddenly piercing shrieks and yells, from the 
direction of the Imperial residence^ broke startlingly 
on my ears. I listened for some time ; but, as every 
minute the groans and cries of agony rung more and 
more dismally from rock and hill, I soon left the tent 



APPLICATION OF THE GIRAFFE. 125 

and proceeded towards the spot from whence the 
screams proceeded. The cracking of the formidable 
giraffe,* and the supplications for mercy, which I 
could now distinctly hear, warned me that the mo- 
narch was up and administering justice. Actuated 
by curiosity, I stealthily took my position behind a 
prickly shrub, and from this unobserved retreat I 
saw about a dozen figures, each with his arms so 
tightly pinioned that the blood almost spirted out of 
the trembUng fingers, whilst on each side stood a 
soldier to support the hapless culprit during the 
executioner's ruthless task. At every stroke of the 
lash, the poor wretches uttered the most heartrending 
moans; but neither the wail of distress, nor the 
lacerated and bleeding backs of the victims, inspired 
any commiseration, or mitigated the severity of their 
punishment. My eyes involuntarily turned from 
this appalling sight, whilst my heart breathed the 
fervid prayer that the Gospel of love might ere long 
reform the cruel laws which at present rule the in- 
habitants of this country. 

Although in Abyssinia justice is regulated by the 
Fetha Newest code of laws, to which tradition assigns 
a heavenly origin, yet every judge may, in all cases 
except miu*der and sacrilege, exercise his own discre^ 
tion in punishing the guilty, and in acquitting the 
innocent. The King, who constitutes the final court 
of appeal, has the right to annul any previous 

* The giraffe is a whip, about five feet long, cut out of the 
lude of the hippopotamus, 



126 PASSION FOR LITIGATION. 

verdict. Nay, if the venality of the administrator of 
the law can be clearly established, the fine of the 
delinquent is frequently in proportionate magnitude 
imposed on the judge. Unhappily, in this depraved 
country, the passion for litigation has so entwined 
itself around the nation's heart, that a monarch, who 
is anxious to check corruption and to render the law 
protective to the meanest as well as the proudest of 
his subjects, must take the balance of justice into his 
own firm hand ; for if he delegates this authority to a 
counsellor or chief, he may be sure that the func- 
tionary will abuse that power to gratify his avarice, 
and to enhance his own importance. King Theodoros 
is so fully aware of this, that, notwithstanding his 
multifarious engagements, he regards it as a solemn 
religious duty to devote, almost daily, several hours 
to the swarms of plaintifis and defendants who, in the 
city and also in the camp, assail his ears with the mono- 
tonous wail " Justice, Jane hoi ! Justice, Jane hoi ! '* 

The penalties attached to the various crimes in 
benighted Hahesh are as incompatible with the spirit 
of the Gospel, as their creed is at variance with the 
ennobling and sanctifying principles of Christianity. 
Many of the inhuman exhibitions, which were formerly 
of daily occurrence, have of late, it is true, been 
entirely abolished; but whilst the searing iron, the 
crooked ripping knife, and the disgusting impaling 
stake are out of use, the hangman and executioner 
are still ever busy at their grim and brutalizing trade. 
The most severe and rigorous punishment is inflicted 



PUNISHMENT OF TRAITORS. 127 

^U rebels and traitors; and, whatever the rank or 
station of the person may be who is found guilty of 
this flagrant crime, no intercession and no plea can 
^ve him from mutilation and death. 

During the nuptial festival, intelligence reached 
the King that a chief in Agaumeder had thrown off 
his allegiance and seduced from their fealty a detach- 
ment of troops. This treachery, at the very period 
when the nation professed to rejoice in his domestic 
bliss, roused the fiery passions of the despot, and 
many thousands of soldiers were instantly despatched 
to quell the insurrection, in the blood of the perfidious 
rebels. On another occasion a plot, in which nine 
of the most powerful chieftains of the land were 
implicated, accidentally came to the knowledge of the 
autocrat. The conspirators promptly received a sum- 
mons to attend a Council, and promptly they hastened 
to obey the royal command. The compressed lip and 
knitted brow of the monarch made them retreat to 
the door, but egress was already barred by the sen- 
tinels of death, and the shout for rescue was either 
unnoticed by their hosts of cowering retainers, or 
drowned in the clang of the mutilating knife, and the 
gruff voice of the executioner. To strike terror into 
the hearts of their adherents, the misguided men, after 
undergoing the amputation of both legs and hands, 
were gibbeted on a tree in the public market-place at 
Gondar, and there for six months their ghastly 
cadavres attracted the carrion-hunting vultures, and 
impregnated with a pestilential poison the mountain 
air. The blackened carcasses of the confederate df 



128 FATAL AMBITION. 

quents were still exposed to the loathing gaze, when 
a Begemeder noble, incited by lust of rapine and 
plunder, disclaimed all allegiance, and aided by bands 
of desperadoes, spread terror and desolation through 
peaceable districts. 

A loyal party of peasants leagued themselves together 
against the disturber of their peace and the ravager of 
their hearths, and, in a bloody fight that ensued, the 
miscreant and his innocent wife were both captured, 
and in boisterous triumph led, gagged and manacled, to 
the despot's feet. The poor woman, who had her 
hair braided in a style above her rank, was imme- 
diately consigned to some unfeeling soldiers, and 
ruthlessly shorn of raven locks that had once been 
the envy of her sex, but were now the cause of her 
degradation, and the theme of many a bitter and 
harassing taunt. Her husband met no such indul- 
gence. He had revolted against the King, and endea- 
voured to excite sedition among his subjects, and a 
cruel lingering death on a slow fire alone was deemed 
sufficient to atone for the enormity of this flagrant crime. 

The King's relentless sev(»|ty towards rebels and 
traitors does not, however, in the least damp the 
aspiration for power, or the passion for dominion. 
Men and women are continually scourged and muti- 
lated ; whole legions of wild hordes arc sent to deso- 
late and lay waste suspected and disaffected districts ; 
whole clans are proscribed and outlawed ; and yet all 
these extreme measures and sanguinary edicts fail to 
enforce obedience, or to win tlie nation's fealty. On 
October 31, 18G0, three thousand rebels, with their 



BOLD ROBBERS. 129 

« 

leader, Gerat, were defeated by the royal troops near 
the western bank of the Taccazi/y and mercilessly 
butchered in cold blood ; in fact, so inexorable was 
the King, that even their wives and children— con- 
trary to former custom— were indiscriminately con- 
demned to perpetual slavery. This severe retaliation 
did not, however, dispose the Tigri usurper, Agou 
NegouseCy to listen to the overtures of peace till, a 
month later, a similar fate rewarded his ingratitude to 
a Sovereign who had given him liberty when a cap^ 
tive, and assistance when in want. 

Theft and murder have been more successfully sup- 
pressed during the present reign than revolt ; and 
bands of freebooters are now as rarely seen in the 
highlands of Abyssinia as in the best regulated states 
of Europe. In a picturesque rural village, close to 
the glassy Tzana lake, there resided for many years 
a fierce lawless community of brigands, who pursued 
their illicit traffic with an ardour and zeal worthy of 
an honest and respectable vocation. The imperial 
troops being more frequently in the vicinity than 
the bravoes thought convenknt, a deputation was 
despatched to lodge a Tormal complaint before the 
Sovereign against this imjustifiable intrusion on their 
domain. The boldness of the ruffians disarmed the 
King's wrath, and, in the blandest tones, he besought 
them to resign the robber's lance for the ploughman's 
whip. At first they felt inclined to yield, particularly 
as each one was to receive a team of bullocks and 
several cows ; but the change from bandit to peasant 
life did not suit the taste of these roving gentry, and 

K 



130 CRIMINAL JURISPRUDENCE. 

they gravely assured his Majesty they could not con- 
sistently abandon a profession which had from time 
immemorial been openly pursued, without let or hin- 
derance, by their clan. The King, finding that he 
had to deal with incorrigible ruffians, coolly told them 
that if this was the unanimous decision of their par- 
tisans, they must all appear before him in person, and 
strictly define the limits of the territory over which 
they intended to roam. This request did not in the 
least stagger their confidence or awaken suspicion in 
their hearts. They had defied Ras AH, and their 
prowess, they also thought, had intimidated Negoos 
Tlieodoros ; but, to their surprise, on presenting them- 
selves a few days afterwards in a strong armed band, 
they found, instead of a good-humoured monarch, a 
stem judge ; and instead of civil courtiers, a formid- 
able line of troops to lead them to execution. 

Murder, that most heinous of all offences, by a strange 
perversion of the Mosaic law, is but seldom capitally 
punished. According to the Abyssinian code of jus- 
tice, a man, whether guilty of manslaughter or wilful 
murder, has forfeited iis life, and must either pay a 
ransom, which varies from oO to 250 Maria Theresa 
dollars,* or suffer the extreme penalty of his crime. 
This peremptory mode of vengeance amongst a vindic- 
tive and cruel race has so often created deadly feuds, 
and caused the wanton effusion of innocent blood, 
that the King abolished the privilege of arbitrary 

* If the murderer does not jK^ssess the requisite amount, he 
is chained to a relation of the deceased, and obliged to b<?g till 
he has collected the stipulated sum. 



PLACES OF EEFUGE. 131 

retributive vengeance, and wisely enacted that both 
parties should be arraigned before him, in order that a 
judicial investigation might precede the final sentence. 
In most cases, however, the murderer may elude 
the violent rage of his pursuers by taking refuge in 
a church, where the priests will negotiate the price of 
his release, or, if he is sufficiently alert, he may retire 
to another province, and in perfect security repent his 
guilty deed. The boundaries which, in imitation of 
the " cities of refuge," the avenger of blood dare not 
pass with hostile intent are well defined by the 
Taccazy between Ti^ri and Amhara, and the Jbai 
between Shoa and Godjam ; but should the attainted 
exile grow impatient in his foreign home, and, in the 
illusive hope that time has obliterated the remem- 
brance of his guilt, revisit the land of his birth, 
inevitable death will assuredly be his lot. 

An instance of this kind occurred not long ago. A 
man in Godjam quarrelled with a neighbour, and deli- 
berately killed him. The Abaihting near, he plunged 
into the river, and crossed over to Amhara. Sixteen 
years he remained in the laqid of his adoption, enjoy- 
ing quiet and undisturbed seclusion. The lapse of 
* this long period, and the removal of several of his 
bitterest foes, allayed his apprehension of detection, 
and in an evil hour he recrossed the deep waters, and, 
over roads untrodden by travellers, hastened to em- 
brace once more the friends and kindred dear to his 
heart. Already he beheld the hut which had shel- 
tered him in former days; already he heard voices 

i^ 2 



132 DISAPPOINTED REVENGE. 

that sounded like sweet music on his ear ; already he 
was clasped to the breast that had pillowed him in 
happy infancy, when, unperceived, the avenger stole 
to his side, and dragged him, amidst the lamentations 
of mother and sisters, to a murderer's doom. 

From these fierce and implacable Godjanieea^ it is 
grateful to turn to an example where mercy was 
extended to the guilty, and yet no violence done to 
the vindictive law of native justice. A detachment of 
troops, on their march through Begemeder^ were quar- 
tered one night on the inhabitants of Gaint. The 
peasants, not much pleased at having to entertain 
these hungry guests, offered them but niggardly fare. 
A brawl ensued, and in the confusion an unlucky rustic 
lost his life. The relatives without delay hastened to 
lodge a complaint before the King. It being evident 
that their own conduct had provoked the fatal catas- 
trophe, the brief sentence was, "Peasants provide, 
and soldiers eat/' The plaintiffs did not admit the 
justice of the verdict ; but the King sharply replied, 
" If you are not satisfied with my decision, and insist 
on blood, you must either kill me, the father of every 
soldier, or accept a ransom." All applauded the 
magnanimity of the Sovereign ; and for several 
months the hereditary wisdom of the descendant of 
Solomon was deservedly eulogized through the length 
and breadth of the land. 

Not to weary the reader with the knotty topic of 
Abyssinian jurisprudence, I return to my tent to sip a 
cup of bitter coffee, which Nazar, my Arab lad, under 



SUPERFLUOUS CONTEITION. 188 

Btany invocations of the prophet's wrath on the dark, 
imsainted Kafirs, had concocted. 

About noon, when the King was, as usual, holding his 
levee on the sunny wall, and the courtiers and governors, 
who worried us with their visits, were attending to 
their respective posts, I enveloped my head in the white 
priestly turban, and to avoid the throng, proceeded 
•long the outskirts of the town to the residence of 
the Aboona. His Grace's palace, a conically-shaped 
Egyptian tent, was, fix)m motives of poUcy, situated on 
an undulating verdant sward, near enough to be seen, 
but not near enough to allow the occupants of the impe* 
rial domiciles to scrutinize their Metropolitan's doings. 
The genuine simplicity of this apostoUc abode made me 
almost sigh d^peccavi at the recollection of my former 
uncharitable suspicions about prelatical pride and hau- 
teur ; but a closer glance at the gaudy-coloured sanc- 
tum, and the scores of prostrate priests at its entrance, 
dissipated all such squeamish qualms, and, to the 
satisfaction of my grinning servant, who, no doubt, 
thought that I was treading on holy ground with a 
prayer on my lips, I unconsciously said aloud, " Ah ! 
enthrone a bishop in Africa, or enthrone him in 
Europe, if Christ is not his ensample, and the Spirit 
his teacher, he will practically villify that very truth 
which he professes to uphold/' 

There were at least five or six hundred Churchmen 
squatted on the large open space in front of the 
tent, waiting for an • interview with their ecclesi- 
astical chief Their appearance, though grave and 
solemn, lacked dignity and intellect, that true im- 



134 DOUBTFUL BADGES. 

press of the Gospel mission. The rigid features 
and inanimate eyes, partly muffled in cumbrous 
shamas, and partly shaded by voluminous white 
turbans, were, by some inexpUcable law of attraction, 
uniformly bent upon that humble canvas screen which 
sparkled and shone under the sportive rays of the 
noonday sun. 

About a dozen gay and smiling pairs of priests 
shackled in rusty fetters, as if proud of their dis- 
tinction, in singular contrast to their sombre and 
immobile co- workmen, strutted on the velvet turf, with 
steps apparently regulated by the music of their not 
very creditable chains. Now manacled gangs were by 
no means unfamiliar to me who had been residing near 
the arsenal of the Grand Turk, and was at that very 
time moving in the courtly atmosphere of Negoon 
Theodoros^ but then almost every one of those blear- 
eyed incorrigible vagabonds had the tale of his life 
written in letters of fire on his villanous countenance; 
whilst these ironed priests wore neither the meek look 
of guilty penitents, nor exhibited the most honourable 
badges to clerical preferment. Absorbed in the puzzling 
conjecture as to the nature of the chains which these 
reverend gentlemen so ostentatiously paraded, I ab- 
stractedly walked on, and was already in the presence 
of the great Aboona, when, to my confusion, I became 
aware of the ugly fact that I had not been an- 
nounced. I quickly apologized in the best language 
I could command ; but his "Grace in most urbane 
terms assured nie that the etiquette, indispensable in 
receiving strangers, was never enforced at the visits of 



ABYSSINIAN ADJURATION. 135 

finends. This condescending reception broke the ice 
of formality, and in a lively and interesting strain we 
were discussing on topics of heterodoxy and themes 
of orthodoxy; on the priests of Shoa, who eschew 
tmih^ and with their ever faithful dagger maintain 
error; on the Godjameea, who profess Christianity, 
and yet sadly stick to Pagan vagaries and Falasha 
superstitions; in fact, our conversation might have 
smoothly run on till dewy eve, had not the de*- 
eUning shadow — the indicator of time's flight in 
primitive Ethiopia — struck life into those crouching 
statues, and unstrung the tongues of those taciturn 
heads. " Ahoond ye moot 1 " " May the Aboona 
die." A solemn and flattering oath, in varied 
cadences> from the deep bass to the shrill soprano, 
resounded from the throats of a band of prostrate 
and cringing ecclesiastics, and was reproduced in 
all its mellifluous native accent by the ever-faithful 
echo. Such an adjuration even an Aboona could not 
resist, and, comfortably ensconced on his cushioned 
(dgay with a black silk covering over his august head 
down to his genuine Coptic nose, he had to endure 
the dreadful bore of listening to all sorts of plaints, 
from the consecration of a tabot to the exorcising of 
a bouda ; and from a breach of ecclesiastical discipline, 
to the ignominious seizure of a poor parishioner's 
useful donkey. 

The heterogeneous mass of subjects submitted to 
the prelate's decision, might have perplexed the most 
acute judgment and shrewd intellect, but twenty- 
two years' constant practice had sharpened his Grace's 



t 



136 PRELATICAL INDIGNATION. 

judicial perceptions ; and, in a masterly manner, 
the abstruse subtilties of polemics were miravelled, 
and the refractory conduct of the contumacious 
promptly chastised. One party being dismissed, 
another was about to advance, when they were per- 
emptorily ordered to stand back till the charges 
against the Adadiea, or fathers in chains, had been 
satisfactorily settled. 

A glow of indignation overspread the calm and 
placid features of the Prelate as those worthies were 
introduced, and, quite unlike the other evildoers, they 
were addressed in a tone that caused their swarthy 
cheeks to grow pale, and their whole frame feverishly 
to throb. The withering sarcasm of their chief 
pastor's impassioned salutation, inclined me to believe 
that these cowering and crouching figures, an hour 
before so haughty, and now so crestfallen, must be 
horrid criminals and irreclaimable offenders : but it 
was not so. Their reverences, as I soon under- 
stood, had neither robbed churches nor scandal- 
ized their caste by unlawful practices, as others 
in that white-clad company had done ; but they 
were guilty of that which, in the Prelatical ba- 
lances, far outweighed every other saccnlotal failing, 
— they had pertinaciously clung to the abolished 
dogma of the three births of Christ— on which I 
shall have something to say in its proper place, — and 
they had also arrogantly absolved certain priests 
whom his Grace had found it necessary to excom- 
municate. The poor men, writhing under the fear 
of tlie impending verdict, pathetically appealed to the 



BRIGHT PROSPECTS. 137 

Aboonaa demency ; and, no doubt, their penitential 
contrition mitigated the severity of the sentence, 
which, though lenient, consisted of several months' 
successive fasts, divers fines, and the promise of the 
girafie ; besides the pleasing prospect that a repetition 
of the oflence might involve banishment from the 
realm, and the amputation of a leg or the loss of an 
arm. 

Now, in Abyssinia, where the spiritual authority of 
the Chiux5h is controlled by the secular power of the 
Crown, the metropolitan legally cannot inflict corporal 
punishment ; but as every priest knows that in matters 
of faith, and particularly on questions relating to 
the disputed tenet of our Lord's birth, the King 
zealously supports the Aboona, yety few, unless their 
lives are in danger, would submit their religious diffe- 
rences to the secular rather than to the spiritual 
tribunal. 



138 



CHAPTER X • 

Termination of the Nuptial FestivitieB — Royal Contempt for 
the Priesthood — Uncomfortable Quarters — Choioe of Besi- 
dence— Liberal Landlord — ^Accession to our Cirde— Aquatic 
Exercise — ^Tropical Eains — R(u Ovhie — Medical Treatment — 
A liga Salasee — Retribution on the W0U09 — Fate of Captives 
— Gloomy Foreboding Verified — Audience at Jan Meeda — 
Ill-temper of the Despot. 

The Imperial nuptials having been duly honoured by 
the slaughter of hecatombs of bullocks, and the 
draining of countless gumbos of potent hydromel, 
his Majesty put an end to the revel, and abruptly 
ordered his troops to march on to the Beshilo. 

We were still speculating on the probable scene of 
operation, when a courtier brought the royal commands 
that all the Franks should repair to the palace. " My 
children,'' said his Majesty on seeing us, "I am 
going to leave Behra Tabor for awhile. The Aboona, 
Ras Engeda and others (which obscurely meant the 
Queen) whose weal is my care, will remain till I 
return. You have come from a distant land to do 
good to my people, and to aid me in improving the 
country over which God has appointed me to rule. 
I am sensible of your kindness, and appreciate the 
purity of yoiu: motives. Those who wish to remain 



HERETICAL INDIFFERENCE. 139 

the Ra8 will take under his charge, and those who 
prefer to leave can do so with my full approbation." 
Messrs. Bender and Kienzlen accepted the latter pro- 
position, and retraced their way back to Tshatahaho, 
whither Mr. Bronkhorst volunteered to accompany 
them, in order to fetch the rest of our luggage, whilst 
myself and two other Europeans in the royal service 
thought it better to brave the now almost diurnal 
storms on the hills of Debra Tabor ^ rather than on the 
wide and unprotected savanna in the royal camp. 

At noon, a noisy procession of priests clad in 

gaudy fineries of patched silks, and redolent of the 

odours of rancid butter and fetid lard, took their 

stand on the highway, and, in anticipation of the 

royal corUge^ unmercifully exerted their cracked and 

jarring throats in chanting the Psalms and hymns of 

the Church. The King^ though ardently attached to 

his Church, has no sympathy with her ignorant and 

lazy priests, and whenever an opportunity offers itself 

he manifests his feeling towards them either in sharp 

rebukes or silent disdain. This he openly enough 

showed in passing the chanting and incense-waving 

groups who lined the road ; for, although they bawled 

and shouted in a deafening chorus, the Imperial 

cavalcade cantered on with an indifference that was 

nothing less than heretical. 

The storms, hitherto intermittent, now assumed a 
more settled and disagreeable regularity. My humble 
tent, that had creditably resisted the pelting of the 
wind and rain during many a terrific and angry 
tempest, began to show symptoms of decay; and, 



140 FRAIL SHELTER. 

although myself and servants invented the most in- 
genious contrivances to render it proof against hail 
and rain, yet all our toil was in vain; and every 
night, for many weary hours, we were compelled to 
stand sentinel near its creaking and bending pole, 
and its loose and flapping sides. To increase 
our misfortune, the uneven ground, overgrown by 
monstrous nettles and prickly shrubs, that had for 
some days served as an eflFectual trench round its 
walls, at length proved too weak an embankment, and 
the muddy, pent-up waters freely oozed through the 
tangled weeds into the well-trodden and shallow area 
of my abode, where they formed a miniature artificial 
lake. 

In this emergency my servants suggested that, like 
the other two Franks, I should apply to the Has for a 
hut, but as I was not a King's emphyk^ nay, invariably 
disclaimed an honoiu* not much calculated to enhance 
the object of our Mission, I sent my people into the 
town either to hire or to purchase a domicile. Their 
research was successful beyond expectation. There 
were houses, small and large, old and new, dirty and 
clean, at the disposal of the demented Frank, who 
sought to procure for money what he might obtain 
without payment. Anxious to inspect this multi- 
farious variety of residences, I picked my way along 
stagnant ponds and through treacherous mud, to 
the localities my prating domestics considered best 
adapted to suit the strange fancy of an ungreased 
Frank. The first house we entered differed from the 
generality of the dwellings in that it had sufticieut 



LIBERAL LANDLORD. 141 

light to reveal a bulging, unsafe roof of foul, mouldy 
straw, and a soft floor covered to the depth of at least 
a foot by steaming and decomposing refuse ; the 
second, though paved in the centre, and hberally 
patched with mud and dung, sheltered in its im- 
penetrable gloom too formidable an entomological 
Pandemonium to be safely encountered by a white 
man's flesh and blood ; the third, in defiance of its 
sty-like appearance and pestiferous odours, I should 
still have tried to cleanse of all its accumulated 
abomination, but that the harpy of a landlord, besides 
two dollars rent, nearly double its value, impudently 
bargained that if he accepted such a trifle it would 
only be on condition that I and my mule should 
occupy one half of the premises, and he and his chil- 
dren and grandchildren the other. To this joint 
occupation I had an invincible repugnance, and no 
thunder and storm could mduce me to exchange the 
quiet wet tent for the filthy crowded hut. 

Three of the small German colony, who had been 
confined in the Amba Magdala^ the King, on his 
march to the Wollo country, Uberated from their 
rocky home, and sent to estabUsh themselves at Gaffat^ 
on the hill formerly occupied by Mr. Plowden. Mr. 
Had, one of this Uttle exiled band, together with his 
partner, a well educated and self-denying deaconess 
from Dr. Fliedner's excellent institute at Kaisers- 
werth were quite an acquisition to our circle. This 
worthy couple, true to their high and holy vocation, 
in the midst of many trials, discouragements, and 
privations, have, during the last six years, unweariedly 
laboured to disseminate God's Word, both accLOiw^W 



I ram* 

1 

to the 



142 A DWELLI^fO IN TDB WILOKBNB 

garrison nt Ma^dala, and the peasants wTio, frodi4 
parts of Abyssinia, periodically supply the fort wilh 
provisions. Their efforts, though not cheered ly 
much success, have not been altogether in vwau 
They have circulated hundreds of copies of 
Scriptures, instructed numbers of Pagans and A 
haras in the great truths of salvation, and bo^ 
example and precept, by relieving the sick, an J 
affectionate and persuasive entreaties addressed to the 
healthy, have been wondeTfuUy aucc^sful in remff 
much of native prejudice, and in scattering fari 
wide the seed of the everlasting Gospel. 

Tlic fresh arrivals being amply provided n-ith s 
axes, spades, and all kinds of implements for building 
a dwQiHng in the wilderness, we set to work, and in a 
few days had a neat hut in the rear of our fricud'n 
premises. It was quite a luxury, after the continod 
exposure to wet and dirt, wind and storm, to J^l 
imtk'r a decently tlintched shelter, and to watch from 
the snug retreat the daily floods which, with almoat 
undcviating regularity inundated the land. 

Our nioniinga, which were generally clear and 
sunny, we devoted to visits or excursions (^wn. tha 
Krib, where the eddying and turbulent watera. 
h<;nimed in by wooded inouiitains and high grassy 
banks, formed the most lovely spot for aquatic 
exercise. Tlie natives, who believe rivers and lakes 
to be the resort of evil spirits, ominously shook their 
heads nt these daiigcrous anmscnieuts, which th^ 
every day anticipated would terminate in the mutilo- 
tiou and death of one or more of the sceptical Franks ; 
hut on finding that neither ghuuh, rfri'h, or nedaliia 



3|l 



TROPICAL STORMS. 143 

tore our limbs, or diminished our number, they caught 
the hydromania, and, for hours in succession, would 
lave and scrub their larded skins in the foaming and 
noisy stream. 

After midday the boom of the distant thunder, like 
the signal guns of a ship in distress, at measured 
intervals, resounded through the air. The light clouds 
han^ng motionless in the serene heavens, began to 
melt into sterner hues ; the air, balmy and refreshing 
half an hour before, became sulphurous and haay, 
the sun disappeared behind a dark impenetrable cur- 
tain, the vrind howled, the trees bent and creaked, 
and everything above and beneath — the crash of the 
thunder, the lurid glare ^of the lightning, and the 
melancholy moan of the wind — all combined to impart 
awe and terror to the scene. A distant hissing noise, 
like the discharge of a number of rockets, gradually 
grew more and more distinct, and ere the reed door 
of the hut could be securely fastened, and a few extra 
hides be applied to the interstices that answered the 
purpose of windows and chimneys, the flood-gates 
were opened, and the rain poured down in over- 
whelming torrents. 

The storm sometimes lasted the whole night, 
though generally its fury subsided after three or four 
hours duration, and then again, as by the fiat of the 
Almighty, the heavy clouds used to disperse, the foun- 
tains of heaven were closed, the sun broke forth, the 
birds began to sing, and the tempest's violence would 
almost have been forgotten, had it not been for the 
foaming torrents and tumbUng cataracts, the deluged 
plain and uprooted trees, the torn homestead and 



'." 



^ 



144 A DISTINGUISHED PATIENT. 

scattered, if not drowned, flock, and many other 
visible traces of its devastating career, which reminded 
one of dangers akeady past, and dangers still to be 
encountered during the successive days of a long 
tropical winter. 

Has Oubie, formerly the ruler of Tiyri, and subse- 
quently the prisoner of King Theodoras^ but at 
present the father-in-law and vassal of the conqueror, 
being near JDebra Tabor, we thought it advisable to 
pay him a visit. On our entrance into his hut we 
found the old man reclining on an alffa, attended by 
two Abyssinians, who, as he had taken a strong dose 
of iosso, were busy in administering to their exalted 
patient the usual tonic of spiced butter, which they most 
profusely rubbed on his sunken chest and thin ske- 
leton arms. The haggard look and cadaverous coun- 
tenance of this once redoutable chief, told the sad talc 
of his dissolute life whilst a ruler, and of his keen 
suflFcrings whilst a captive. Our appearance for a 
few minutes put a stop to the manipulations of the 
two leeches ; but the worn-out invalid, in a petulant 
and irritable tone of voice, signified his impatience at 
the interniption. The obsequious and sweltering 
dabblers in the healing art, promptly obeyed the 
behest, and handful after handful of the aromatic 
butter and lard came pattering on his wornrout form, 
till the poor man was regularly encased in a thick 
stratum of dirty fat. To us he spoke not a word ; a 
disappointment I did not regret, as we could more 
freely converse with his abadie or father, Alifj/a Salasee, 
This worthy, who is an Abyssinian Church dignitary, 
at one time professed to have a favourable disposition 






AN UN SATISFACTORY CONVERT. 



US 



^ 



towards Protestantism, but, ou the arrival of the Jesuitu 
he changed sides and drifted into Uomanisni, and e 
present, notwithstanding his pretended attachment t 
the creed of the Ahoona, he is, I believe, wanderinfj| 
about on the confines of scepticism and infidehty. 

The AUffa, who is certainly one of the most noblel 
and dignified-looking ecclesiastics in the country,| 
some years ago acconipimied MonHignor de Jacolds, 
the head of the Jesuit Mission, on a visit to Italy. 
He wna evidently chosen for that purpose on account 
of his personal advantages and imposing appearanct 
but if the thoughtful countenance, synmietricall 
figure, and intelligent expression of the dark-colourcdl 
priest enlisted the wfU"m sympathy and generouf 
benevolence of the faithful at Rome, in behalf of hial 
country, the visit did not in tlic Ictist benefit him,- nor 
enhance the usefulness and stability of the mission 
which had so generously befriended him. Amongst J 
other questions, he asked how I liked Abyssinia, and, T 
to hia surprise, I bluntly rephed, " God has given youj 
a fine country and a rich soil ; but alas ! you still wantl 
that precious boon—a gratefid heart." 

The King's return from a successful expedition 
against the H'olh GaUas, wLo had for several monttis 
been carrying ruin and desolation into all the districts 
cast of tlic Bi'xhilo, created universal joy. In con- 
formity with Abyssinian eti()uette, wc repaired to the 
court to congratulate the autocrat on his safe retural 
from a toilsome and dangerous campaign. lie waa,f 
as usual, com nmnicii live, and frankly told us that the" 
inclemency of the weather, the depth of the rivers. 



146 CAPTIVE GALLA8. 

and the lances of the GaUaa had cost him a good 
number of troops ; but, as he had captured six thou- 
sand women and children, forty thousand sheep and 
oxen, and horses and mules in proportion, he 
thought the death of his own troops amply re- 
venged on the hated Mohammedans. Many of the 
poor captives were left at Magdala^ whilst the rest, 
and particularly the adults, were distributed amongst 
the most deserving of the officers and chiefs. 

The lot of these miserable victims of savage war and 
untamed passion, although they have escaped a vio- 
lent and cruel death, is still most painful and dreary. 
Tom from a happy home, and severed from every 
tender tie, the despairing prisoners are hurried 
into a remote and distant exile, where they are 
either indiscriminately distributed amongst the most 
distinguished warriors, or consigned to notable go- 
vernors and favoured functionaries. The traffic in 
slaves was abolished throughout Abyssinia on the 
succession of King Theodoros to power ; but within 
the last year, the despot, from spite to the French, 
who were reported to have landed an invading army on 
the coast, in order to re-establish the expelled Jesuits, 
rescinded the law ; and the abominable trade, after the 
long check, is now again flourishing more than ever. 
Some slaves occasionally rise to dignity and rank ; but 
the majority, and especially the females, despite their 
passive reception of the rite of baptism, are detested 
on account of their infidel descent, and, if not en- 
dowed with bewitching charms, are subjected to a 
hard and bitter existence. I saw several groups of 



[SRIOCa IHPBEBBIffl 



these desolate beings, and it was tnily a melting 
spectacle to behold infancy and youth, health and 
beauty, at the very budding time of life, doomed to 
blighted hopea and perpetual servitude. They all 
seemed to feci their melancholy position ; and though 
DO groan or sigh escaped their Ups, yet the heaving of 
the breast, and the 8orrowfid gaze of the dark eye, 
touchingly spoke of silent grief and ineftable anguish. 
Hail and rain, as well as the fatigues and toil of the 
Galla campaign induced the King to take a few days' rest 
on the beautiful plain of Jan Meeda, near Debra Tahor. 
^^pie camp being near Gaffat, I invited Mr. Bell to at- 
^^■nd the service which 1 had organized for the benefit of 
^^le few Europeans on our lonely hill. He readily assented 
to my proposition, and on the following Lord's-day 
w as with us for several hours. More than twenty years 
^■■d elapsed since he lust joined in the prayers of the 
^^Biurch or listened to an exposition of the Gospel 
^^BHu a Protestant minister's lips. The solemnity of 
^^■ie service, and the pathetic and thrilling appeals of 
^^■e sacred volume to which he had so long been 
^Hmost a stranger, evoked sad recollections and bitter 
^^Kmories of a life without u saving faith, and the anti- 
cipation of a futiu-e felicity without the recognition of 
a crucified Redecriier. The next day, in a letter to 

Is. Flad, he expressed his unfeigned gvatiHcatioii at 
[ving spent the Svindny under our roof, and at the 
Bie time, in an earnest strain, requested him to 
Bome the guardian and executor of hia will sboold 
't next battle-field terminate hia career, 
oomy forebodings proved but too true, for in b 
I, 2 



TheMj 



us 



between Geral and the King, whict 
months later, this brave and kind-hearted man, to the 
regret of a whole nation, nobly fell in defending the 
life of his Sovereign and friend. 

A vague rumour that the rebel force under Gerat 
and Temmma was moving from Woggera towards 
Dcmbca, set the imperial army, after a week's rest, 
again in motion. Before the breaking up of the 
camp, wc repaired once more to Jan Meeda for an 
interview with the King, 

On our way wc passed Mat/nra Miriam, a cburcli 







pcri'lied on the brow of a lofty hill. The lilUe edifice, 



faintly visible (brough the massive foliage, bail morel 
the appearance of a weary monk's liermitage tban a I 
place of Cbristian worablp. The wail-Iikc chants of the | 
morning service, which rose in the air far above us as J 
We rode along, produced a startUng and not un[)leas- 1 
ing effect. Our more devout servants instantly pros- I 
listed tbeaiselves, and, in superstitious venemtion for 1 
Ihe sacred shrine, kissed the ground ; but those who | 
tiad already imbibed some better ideas ridiculed a I 
piety so convenient, as they expressed it, to lazy ] 
people. J 

In the camp, notwithstanding the chilliness and cold A 
of the enrly hour, we found the King already up, and I 
bctively engaged iu dictating despatches to the half- 
ankcd, shivering scribes, and in giving orders to the 
no less courtly attired coninianders of his troops. 
Id deference to the white visitors, and to the aatis- 
:tion of the chilled officials, business was for a 
brief interval suspended. His Majesty asked us a 
variety of questions about Europe, its divisions, creeds, I 
knnies, and warfare. He was quite surprised to hear j 
that iu Christian countries prisoners of war were ] 
Ifeneroujily treated, and women and children, youth and 1 
iDDOcence, exempt from all its penalties. '* You arc," I 
lie replied, " superior to us in all things ^ and, if God 1 
pennits, 1 shall soon send an embassy to England to I 
Bpcii the eyes of at least a few of my people." At I 
the close of our audience we adjourned to the royal I 
tent, where a sumptuous breakfast of broundo, sAiro, I 
iiftlromi'l, and a variety of other delicate peppery I 
condiments bad been provided lor the favoured 



150 THE despot's temper. 

Franks. Subsequently, as an additional mark of 
distinction, each one received six cows and several 
gumbos of honey, which, for aught we knew, though 
courtesy forbade the inquiry, were once owned by the 
incorrigible Wolto. 

At noon the King and his staff quitted Jan Meeda. 
As usual, crowds of petitioners and mendicants lined 
the road along which the royal corUge was to pass. 
But evil tidings had ruffled the despot's temper, and 
the luckless suppliants, contrary to all precedent, were 
made to atone for their discordant clamour of Jane- 
hoi by a sound application of the never-missing 
giraffe. Two Arabs who had been sent on an er- 
rand to the King by ** Nimmer^' — the lowland chief 
already adverted to, in their eagerness to prefer the 
object of their mission, forgot to uncover themselves 
to the waist, and, to their horror, instead of a gracious 
reply, half-a-dozen pairs of stout arms gave them an 
impressive lesson on court etiquette. Similar acts of 
discipline were indiscriminately administered to all, 
no matter whether high or low, strangers or natives, 
who had the misfortune to cross the path of the irri- 
tated Monarch. 



151 



CHAPTER XI. 

DLseaseB — The Teenia — ^Antidote — The Bauda — His Power — 
Mode of Exorcism— Revolting Taste— Fatal Effects— Tor- 
ments of the Zar — Easy Cure— Solution of the Demoniacal 
Complaints. 

The Abyssinians, as a nation^ are a strong> robust, 
and wiry race. Accustomed from early childhood to 
simple diet and constant exposure to the open air, 
their system becomes inured to privations, and im- 
pervious to the various ills which afflict humanity in a 
more artificial state of society* The most prevalent 
diseases are fever and dysentery, but these seldom 
assume the malignant character they exhibit in the 
*' iolla*' or low countries. Leprosy, scrofula and 
scorbutic afiections, which hasten hundreds and thou- 
sands to prematiu*e decay and death, cannot be 
regarded as indigenous to the climate, since they are 
either the cruel legacy of dissolute parents, or the 
natural consequence of filthy habits and a vicious 
course of life. The disease, which may justly be 
styled national, is the " Teenta," or tape- worm. 
This complaint, from which scarcely one in a hundred 
is exempt, has hitherto baffled philosophical inquiry 
and ingenious speculation. The theory that assigns 
its probable cause to a too liberal indulgence in the 



152 THE BOUDA. 

use of raw meat is contradicted by the natives, who 
allege that its cause must be in the water and air, 
as otherwise numbers of herbivorous animals would 
not be exposed to its attacks. Happily I escaped 
this national scourge, and can, therefore, offer no 
experimental opinion on the disputed question ; but I 
am inclined to believe that broundo, cayenne pepper 
sauce, ted^e and dallah, are far more to blame for it 
than the murmuring rivulet and the soft cool breeze. 
Nature has kindly provided various remedies against 
this loathsome disease. A small grain, called *' In-- 
quoquOy' was found to be an infaUible antidote by 
the agents of Bishop Gobat ; but the natives, with per- 
verse obstinacy, consider the temporary relief effected 
every two months by a potent dose of ko89o more 
conducive to health than an effectual and radical cure. 
But, in dilating on the ills the Ethiopian is heir to, 
the Bouda and Zar must not be forgotten, since they 
occupy a most prominent place in the catalogue of 
evils which tortiu^e the brown-skinned children of the 
sun. Of the two, the Bouda^ or sorcerer, as the 
word signifies, is the most dreaded. His powers in 
the black art arc reported to be of a most varied 
character. At one time he will enslave the objects of 
his malice ; at another he will subject them to name- 
less tortures; and not unfrequently his vengeance 
will even compass their death. Like the Genii and 
Efrcts of the Arabian Nights, the Bouda invariably 
selects those possessed of youth and talent, beauty 
and wit, on whom to work his evil deeds. Those 
most profound in magic skill are the Jews, the inha- 



POWERFUL CHARMS. 153 

bitants of Damot, some Godjamees, and the workers in 
iron and brass, a trade almost exclusively monopolized 
by the poor despised Falashas. A variety of charms 
have been invented to counteract the Boudas power, 
but the most potent and expensive are the amulets 
written by pious debteraJis, and worn round the neck. 
The dread of the sorcerer has introduced a whole 
tribe of exorcists, who pretend to be able both to 
conjure the evil spirit, and also to detect his where- 
about; and these are, accordingly, held in great 
awe by the people. Their traffic resembles in 
every respect that of the highwayman; with this 
difference only, that the one, in bold and unblushing 
language, calls on his victim to stand and deliver, 
and the other stealthily creeps into the midst of a 
troop of soldiers or amongst a convivial party of 
friends, and pronounces the mystical word Bouda. 
The uncouth appearance and sepulchral voice of the 
exorcist everywhere produce the deepest sensation, 
and young and old, men and women, gladly part with 
some article to get rid of his hated and feared pre- 
sence. If, as sometimes happens, one or two less 
superstitious individuals object to these wicked ex- 
actions, the exorcist has a right to compel every one 
present to smell an abominable concoction of foul 
herbs and decayed bones, which he carries in his 
pouch; those who unflinchingly inhale the offensive 
scent are declared innocent, and ^ose who have 
no such strong olfactory nerves are declared Boudas^ 
and shunned as aUies of the Evil One. In the time 



154 INFLUENCE OF THE WEATHER. 

of Goshu Beru8 rule in Godjam hundreds were exe- 
cuted on the suspicion of being Boudas; and even 
King Theodores, till within the last few years when 
he began to study God's Word, continually sanctioned 
these judicial murders. 

During the rainy season, when the weather, like 
the mind, is cheerless and dull, the Boudas^ as if in 
mockery of the universal gloom, celebrate their satur- 
ndia. In our small settlement at Gaffat, the monotony 
of our existence was constantly diversified by a Bonder 
scene. Towards the close of August, when every^ 
shrub and tree began to sprout and blossom, th^ 
disease degenerated into a regular epidemic; and 
in the course of an evening, two, three, and, not 
unfrequently, every hut occupied by natives would 
ring with that famiUar household cry. A heavy 
thunder-storm, by some mysterious process, seemed 
invariably to predispose the people to the Bouda's 
torturing influence. 

I remember one day, about the end of August, we 
had a most terrific tempest. It commenced a little 
after midday, and lasted till nearly five o'clock. 
During its continuance the air was completely dark- 
ened, except when the lightning's lurid blaze flashed 
athwart the sky, and relieved, for a few seconds, 
the almost midnight gloom. No human voice could 
be heard amidst the thunder's deafening crash, and 
the torrent's impetuous rage ; everything above, be- 
neath, and around, seemed in the agonies of disso- 
lution, and it required no stretch of the imagination 



AN AMATBl'R EXOECIST. 



1 55 



to believe that the wails and dismal groans, which 
rang on the car, were the war-whoop of evil spirits 
Vgaged in a frantic and deadly contest. 
^The noise and tumult of the striving elements had 
:ely subsided, when a servant of Mr. Mayer, 
I'Stout, robust, and masculine woman, began to 
llibit the Bouda ayraptoms. She had been com- 
ning the whole noon of languor, faintness, and 
utter incapacity for all physical exertion. About 
sonset her lethargy increased, and she gradually 
Bnk into a state of apparent imconsciousness. Her 
^■ow-servants, who were familitir with the cause of the 
^■Uplaint, at once prononnced her to be possessed. To 
Htwit the conjurer, I thought it advisable to try the 
BBfect of strong liquid ammonia on the nerves of the 
Evil One. The place being dark, faggots were ignited ; 
and in their bright flickering tight we beheld a mass of 
(lark figures squatted on the wet floor around a rigid, 
motionless, and apparently dead woman. I instantly 
my bottle to her nose ; but although the 
lent smell made all near raise a cry of terror, 
reduced no more effect on the passive and iuscn- 
|3e patient, than if it had been water from the neivly- 
med rivulets. 

; owner of Gaffaf. an amateur exorcist almost 
■ instinct, as if anticipating something wrong in 
t part of his domain occupied by the Franks, made 
I appearance in the very nick of time. This bloated 
. limping dotard, who had wasted his youth and 
nhood in folly and vice, for which, in his old age. 



156 VIOLENT 8TBUGGLB. 

he seeks to atone by discarding one after the other of 
his former wives, and by poring over the legends of 
saints and martyrs, no sooner hobbled into the hut 
than the possessed woman, as if struck by a mag- 
netic wire, burst into loud fits of laughter and the 
paroxysms of a raving maniac. Half a dozen stalwart 
fellows caught hold of her, but frenzy imparted a 
vigour to her frame which even the united strength of '^kii 
these athletes was barely sufficient to keep under 'rxi'i 
control. She tried to bite, kick, and tear every one ^^e 
within reach ; and, when she found herself foiled in all ^ 1 
these mischievous attempts, she convulsively grasped 
the unpaved wet floor, and, in imitation of the hyena, 
gave utterance to the most discordant sounds. Ma- 
nacled and shackled with leather thongs, she was now 
partly dragged, and partly carried, to an open grassy 
spot; and there, under the starry vault of heaven, 
and in the presence of a considerable number of 
people, the conjiu-er, in a business-like manner, began 
his exorcising art. The poor sufferer, as if conscious 
of the dreaded old man's presence, struggled fran- 
tically to escape his skill ; but the latter, disregarding 
her entreaties and lamentations, her fits of unnatural 
gaiety, and bursts of thrilling anguish, with one hand 
laid an amulet on her heaving bosom ; whilst, with the 
other, he made her smell a rag, in which the root of 
a strong-scented plant, a bone of a hyena, and some 
other abominable unguents were bound up. The 
mad rage of the possessed woman being instan- 
taneously hushed by this operation, the conjiuxjr 



BOUDA ADJURATION. J 57 

addressed himself to the Bouda^ and, in language not 
fit for ears polite, requested him to give his name.* The 
Bouda, speaking through the medium of the possessed, 
replied, Hailu Miriam. 

Conjurer. — ^Where do you reside ? 

Bouda. — In Bamot 

CJonjurer. — ^What is the name of your Father and 
Confessor ? 

Bouda. — My Father's name is Negouaye, and my 
AbadieSy Oubie. 

Conjurer. — Why did you come to this district ? 

Bouda. — I took possession of this person on the 
plain of Wadela, where I met her on the road from 
Ma^dala. 

Conjurer. — How many persons have you already 
killed (literally eaten) ? 

Bouda.— Six. 

Conjurer. — ^I command thee, in the name of the 
blessed Trinity, the twelve Apostles, and the three 
hundred and eighteen Bishops at the Council of 
Nicsea, to leave this woman, and never more to 
molest her. 

The Bouda did not feel disposed to obey the con- 
jurer; but on being threatened with a repast of 
glowing coals, which the majority do not relish, he 
became docile, and, in a sulky and ventriloquizing 
tone of voice, promised to obey the request. 

Still anxious to delay bis exit, he demanded some- 
thing to eat ; and, to my utter disgust, bis taste was 

• The Bouda belongs to the stronger sex, and is therefore 
spoken to in the masculine gender. 



158 REVOLTING TASTE. 

as coarse as the torments inflicted on the young 
woman were ungallant. Filth and dirt of the most 
revolting description, together with an admixtmre of 
water, were the choice delicacies he selected for his 
supper. This strange fare, which the most niggardly 
hospitality could not refuse, several persons hastened 
to prepare ; and when all was ready, and the earthen 
dish had been hidden in the centre of a leafy shrub, 
the conjurer said to the Bouda, " As thy father did, 
so do thou." These words had scarcely escaped the 
lips of the exorcist, when the possessed person leaped 
up, and, crawling on all fours, sought the dainty 
repast which she lapped with a sickening avidity and 
greediness. She now laid hold of a stone, which 
three strong men could scarcely lift, and, raising it 
aloft in the air, whirled it madly round her head for 
two seconds, and then fell senseless on the ground. 
In half-an-hour she recovered, but was quite uncon- 
scious of what had transpired. 

Three other women had similar attacks that same 
evening, and that, too, without any premonitory 
symptoms. I tried to deceive one, and, instead of the 
disgusting concoction, put a wooden dish with bread 
•and water in her way; but on smelling it she shrunk 
from its contents, and rapidly crept on till the strong 
effluvia brought her to the spot where the loathsome 
viands were concealed. Some conjurers are so expert 
in their art, that even at a distance they can control 
those under the influence of the nameless. A case of 
this kind, which occurred at Magdaluy was narrated 
to me by an eye-witness. In this instance, the 



SOLUTION OF THE MYSTERY. 159 

possessed was a young girl of attractive appearance. 
Her friends and companions, who at once suspected 
the Bouda symptoms, despatched a messenger to the 
exorcist ; but, as he was then in a lazy mood, he com- 
Doissioned a menial to conduct her to his own abode, 
rhe raving and frantic girl, upon receiving this sum*- 
mons, immediately relaxed in her violent frenzy, and 
grasping a huge and ponderous stone she lifted it on 
her head and calmly followed her guide. 

In small villages and settlements, where no con* 
jurer is at hand to exorcise the familiar spirit, the 
paroxysm of madness will spend itself in an hour or 
two ; but the suflFerer, worn out and prostrate, sinks 
down into a feverish lethargy and stupor, from which, 
I was assured by reliable in^jividuals, few ever 
awake. 

This curious malady, which Abyssinian credulity 
ascribes to the direct possession of the Wicked One, 
I am inclined to believe, from the details communis 
Gated to me by European residents, may be traced 
to far more natural causes than those assigned by 
the natives. The very persons most subject to the 
Bouda influence are, in themselves, a proof that, 
however puzzling the cure may be, there is no mys- 
tery about the origin of the disease. Among the 
numerous cases which came under my own notice, I 
ascertained that the sufierers invariably had either 
been afflicted with a disordered imagination, or 
shaken by much excitement or depression in their 
nervous system. The more intelligent natives admit, 
that the sober, moral, and virtuous of both sexes 



160 POTENT MEDICINE. 

enjoy immunity from the demon's power; whilst 
on the contrary, those who indulge in morbid fancies, 
luxuriate in sinful indulgences, and riot in dissolute 
habits, are seldom, if ever, entirely free from the 
fear of a sudden attack. 

Next in importance to the Bouda is the Zar. This 
malady is exclusively confined to unmarried women, 
and has this peculiar feature, that during the violence 
of the paroxysm it prompts the patient to imitate the 
sharp, discordant growl of the leopard. I recollect 
that the first time I saw a case of this description, it 
gave me a shock which made my blood run cold. 
The suflFerer was a handsome, gay, and lively girl, a little 
above fifteen. In the morning she was engaged as 
usual in her work, ^hen a quarrel ensued between her 
and other domestics. The fierce dispute, though of a 
trifling character, roused the passions of the fiery 
Ethiopian to such a pitch that it brought on an 
hysterical affection. The natives all cried, " She is 
possessed ! " and certainly her ghastly smile, nervous 
tremour, wild stare, and unnatural howl justified the 
notion. To expel the Zar^ a conjurer, as in the Bouda 
complaint, was formerly considered indispensable ; 
but by dint of perseverance, the medical faculty of 
the country, to their infinite satisfaction, have at 
length made the happy discovery that a sound appli- 
cation of the whip is quite as potent an antidote 
against this evil as the necromancer's spell. Neither 
in the above, nor in any other instance that occurred 
among our own people, had we recourse to this 
remedy ; but, instead of it, we made the patient 



SIN PUNISHED. 161 

inhale strong spirit of ammonia; and, if this failed, 
we left her to herself, and in a day or two she would 
again recover her impaired senses and wonted health. 
In bringing this demoniacal subject to a close, I 
am forcibly reminded of the words, " Be sure your 
sin will find you out." That there is something 
in these diseases, and in their mode of cure, which 
transcends ordinary disorders, no one who has stood 
beside a frantic and agonized patient, and wondered 
at the sudden and more than dramatic transition from 
raving frenzy to childlike docility, can well deny ; but 
without deciding whether it is epilepsy, catalepsy, or 
hysteria, I am quite sure that fiends and spirits have 
less to do with the matter than the irregular Hfe and 
dissolute course which so many pursue, 



M 



162 



CHAPTER XII. 

Close of the Rainy Season — Festivities — ^Terprachorean Exercise 
— Universal Lustration — Favourable Auguries — ^The Plague 
— Bridge over the Erib — Melancholy Tidings — Primitive 
Court of Justice — An Unfortunate Marriage — Numerous 
Visitors — Ix>w Diet — ^An Island in the Lake — ^Friendly Pea- 
sants. 

Our tropical winter at length draws to a close, and 
spring, with its lovely bloom, its verdure, and per- 
fumed breath, begins to shed a reviving influence 
over the cheerless face of nature. The woods and 
groves, so long dismal with melancholy sounds, re-echo 
to the cheerful melodies of birds, and the tender 
songs of the herdsmen. The overflowing rivers, the 
graves of many a flock, retire to their deep-worn 
rocky beds ; the rain-saturated fields put forth hopeful 
signs of an abundant harvest ; the valleys are clad in 
a dazzling garb of tender grasses ; and everything, 
above and beneath, is radiant with the sunshine of 
happiness, love, and peace. The natives, who had 
been for some months in a state of torpor and physical 
stagnation, now shake off" their slothful dulness, and 
in a round of holidays and festive commemorations 
inaugurate the budding season of the year. Mar}', 
the foremost in rank among the celestial nobility, and 
the most honoured of all saints, had the first of these 






BOspiciotis days dedicated to tLe ineuiory of lu-r 
■BSiimption. Tbc curemonics of tlie celebration com- 
lenced at early dawn, when every one, clad in bis 
best a/iama, and shiuing in an exuberant profusion of 
rank butter, repaired to church to hear the legends of 
tbc Virgin, and to pray at her shrine. On the return 
service, all our people who could boast of a 
life or sword assisted in the meritorious work of 
dissecting a cow, which wc had ^isen them in honour 
of the fete. The scent of meat attracted several 
devout adorers of the Madonna to the hill at Gajfat; 
and, notwithstanding our well-known disregard of 
saints and canonized celebrities, the gory joints were 
considered by those arrant gluttons as incontestable 
proof of our good taste, sound divinity, and superior 
devotion. 

The banquet was followed by a dance, This 

[•ational amusement, which the practice of the 

lurch hallows, is more a gynmastic than a sal- 

[litory exercise. In these exhibitions there is no- 

ng of the extravagance of the Egyptian almfi, 

the capering of the fashionable ball-room. A 

iniber of young people, brimful of gaiety and hnp- 

ess, arrange themselves in a circle on tlic gi-ecn- 

or under a shady tree, and, in a wild and 

ilhctic strain, strike up a favourite ballad. As the 

ites become more v»ild and passionate, the whole 

tg divides according to the sexes; they then en- 

inc their arms around each others' shonldcrs, and, 

graccfiU and picturesque attitude, swiiy their 

lies backward and forward to the niinstnlsy of 



rl64 TERFSICHOBEAN EXERCISE. 

their own voices. This continues for some time, 
when a dancer or danseuse advances into the centre, 
and gazes motionless on the mirthful group. The 
impassioned strains which now become more quick 
and lively, infuse new fire into the cold and statuesque 
form, and in a few seconds, that seemingly immovable 
piece of humanity quivers in every nerve to the melody 
of the tumultuous choir. When one performer is ex- 
hausted, another steps within the circle ; and this will 
sometimes continue without interruption from noon till 
murky midnight. Our own people and their friends 
would willingly have kept it up tiU pretty late, but 
a hint to the asashy or major domo, broke up the 
magic ring, and the sable belles and their attendant 
swains left the pleasures of Terpsichore for the less 
dignified, though more important, occupation of the 
stable and kitchen. 

The /(?/(? of the Virgin was followed, on the 10th of 
September, by that of St. John. On the eve preced- 
ing that day, which ushers in the New Year, most of 
Ethiopia's dirty children repair to rivers and ponds to 
enjoy the sadly-needed luxury of a thorough lustra- 
tion. This annual lavation over, the faithful repair to 
church to partake of the Sacrament, and the profane 
go home to quaff, in remembrance of the abstemious 
Baptist, potent potations of defch and dallah. Before 
the rose-tinted clouds of morning vanish from the 
eastern horizon, servants and subordinates, decked 
out in garlands and wreaths, repair to the presence of 
their master or chief, and humblv offer him a noseffav 
of flowers as the gift most suitable to the happy season. 



PROFUSION OF NOSEGAYS. 165 

We were particularly favoured on that occasion ; but, I 
fear, the bouquets were flung in countless numbers at 
our feet, more in anticipation of our future liberality 
than from the purer motive of personal esteem. The 
generosity of the King and the Aboona towards the 
strangers, afforded us the means of exercising the most 
magnanimous hospitality to every one who brought us 
presents, or who, in whining and artificial accents, 
came to bid us God speed on our next day's depar- 
ture. Our asash had an unlimited control over the 
flocks and larder on this holiday, and, judging 
from the quantity of meat, daUah^ honey, and 
bread consumed by our hungry guests, one might 

• 

almost have thought that a famine had recently visited 
the land, and given them an increased appetite. A 
priest from the neighbourhood of Debra Tabor, 
whose son, a deacon of the Church, had entered our 
service, most bravely distinguished himself on that 
occasion in the magic art of stowing away incredible 
quantities of broundo. 

This old ecclesiastic, notwithstanding the vigour of 
his digestive organs and the bloated features of his 
sinister countenance, had once been a celebrated beau 
and favourite confessor. His story may be briefly 
told. Bom of noble parents and heir to an extensive 
estate, the future priest was from his infancy dedi- 
cated to the sword, and not the altar. His father, like 
most Abyssinian magnates, was a man of easy morals, 
and soon wasted that portion of the property which 
the then raging civil war had still left to the family. 



9 



166 ROMANTIC LOVE. 

aud the scion of an aristocratic house entered on 
Ufe's arena as a beggar, dependent on the charity of 
the benevolent. Christianity, which, even in countries 
where its divine truth is least understood, can boast 
of some monument, which the most refined heathenism 
never contemplated, has reared in Abyssinia convents 
and schools, where poor aspirants for ecclesiastical dig- 
nities receive gratuitous education. In one of these 
establishments the disappointed heir of fortune found 
a quiet shelter. Being a lad of quick perception and 
good talents, he rapidly graduated in the lore requisite 
for his sacred vocation. The cup of sorrow and grief 
which he had already drained to the dregs, gave him 
a distaste for the world, and he was about to devote 
himself to celibacy and seclusion, when chance un- 
luckily led him to Yetshu, where he fell desperately in 
love with a pretty Mahomedan girl. His Fatima 
reciprocated the tender passion, and as he had on her 
account renounced the monk's skullcap for the 
priest's turban, she emulated his example, and for his 
sake abjured her Mahomedan creed. Having no 
particular claim to ecclesiastical preferments except a 
handsome wife, a blessing which the monkish Arch- 
bishop and Etcliequi could not appreciate, the worthy 
man had daily to chant and sing in chiu'ch till Ids throat 
was almost cracked to gain a penurious subsistence. 

Romantic love and abject poverty, though very fine 
in theory, do not well harmonize in the hard and 
painful struggles of daily life; this, I believe, is a 
universal experience, and Abadie Hailu found that he 






ELOPEMENT. 1G7 

id not form the exception to the rule. The attached 

cou[)Ii; for some time were indeed happy in their 

iDtiial affection, but those pleasant days came to 

end ; and one bright and sunny morning as ho 

officiating in the Church which so niggardly 

arded his toil, the faithless Serooda resumed tlie 

musical name of Fafima, and eloped with a 

lonicdan Khowadgee. Unable, according to the 

ions of orthodoxy, to solace his lacerated heart by 

uew alliance, the desolate priest stoically resigned 

liimself to misery, broundo, and detch. 

The /tie of Kudus Yohannca having been duly 

Iebrated, our devout friends, in return for their 

:viou8 day's entertainment, unanimously united in 

imising us a prosperous journey. Although I 

bad not much contidencc in these auguries, yet I 

confess it afforded me a kind of secret satisfaction tt? 

part from the set of semi-savages, amongst whom we 

bad been sojourning, under a shower of good wishes 

and valedictory blessings. The fresh and cloudless 

morning contributed largely to the buoyancy of 

spirits which we experienced ; and the httle band of 

Euissionaries set out from Gaffat to a new and untried 

field of labour in a frame of mind free from every 

fear, and inspired with the brightest hopes. Numerous 

friends on mules, horses, and on foot, accompanied ns 

t about two miles, when once more they denuded 

ir greasy shoulders, and amidst torrents of elo- 

;nt phrases bade us a final farewell. 

At Amora GudeU, a perjiendicular rock which 

.*e8 its name from the countless eagles and vui- 



168 THE PLAGT7B. 

tures which have built their nests on its craggy and 
almost inaccessible heights, we made a short halt to 
rest oiir panting animals and gasping porters. From 
this spot to Jdith Beit Chriatyan, or New Church, 
our road lay across a green, grassy plain, exquisitely 
enamelled with flowers and shrubs, around which 
bees, butterflies, and other gay insects were hovering 
in rapturous delight. On our arrival at the village, 
which I presume received its name in anticipation of 
the Church that is yet to be erected, we were greeted 
with the chilling cry, " Beahita! beshital*' i.e., plague! 
plague 1 Our people, on hearing this awful word, 
were ready to fly from the tainted locality ; but, as we 
had no inclination to jade our animals on the first 
stage, we ridiculed their cowardly terror, and this, 
far more than sharp reproofs, piqued their pride, and 
they all valorously declared that their fears had been 
prompted by anxiety for us, and not by any dread of 
danger to themselves. 

Unable to obtain provisions for our large party in 
so poor a village, we took oiur gims and went in search 
of game. Our carriers asserted that they had seen 
several antelopes browsing near an adjacent rivulet, 
but after a vain and fatiguing hunt, we were obliged 
to content ourselves with three brace of tough 
pigeons for our frugal evening repast. 

At seven in the morning we were again on our 
way. The plain, which looked so lovely and fair near 
Debra Tabor, became swampy and almost impassable 
as we receded from its more elevated parts. In 
some places the whole country had the appearance 



MELANCHOLY TIDINGS. 169 

of a lake, and it required the greatest caution to steer 
clear of ruts and holes which treacherously intersected 
the submerged road. By dint of patient toil and un- 
remitting exertion we jogged on to the river Erib^ 
which we crossed on a solid stone bridge of seven 
arches, — one of the few monuments left by the Por- 
tuguese to perpetuate their fatal visit to these un- 
friendly shores. The river, which on a former journey 
I had forded much lower down on a mule, measured 
at this point, although the water had for many days 
been rapidly subsiding, more than fifteen feet ; and 
we could see from the torn and saturated banks, that 
during its maxunum rise it must have considerably 
exceeded double its present height. 

While we were re-arranging our saddles, two sol- 
diers came up to us, and at the sight of Mr. Flad they 
piteously exclaimed " Woe unto us, Afa NegouBee is 
dead ! Woe unto us, Afa Negouaee^ the wise and 
good, is deadl" After this touching effusion of 
unaffected grief, they informed us that the com- 
mandant of Magdala was no more, and that they had 
just been to the royal camp at Berita to announce to 
the King the doleful news. The sudden appearance 
of Mr. Flad, who had known the deceased chief, 
naturally enough reminded them afresh of the irre- 
parable loss they had sustained ; and to all our 
queries the faithful veterans had no other reply except 
the sorrowful lament, " Woe unto us, Afa Negousee 
is dead ! Afa Negousee^ the mighty and valiant, 
is dead!" 

At midday we came to Efag^ a village famous for its 



170 AN IMPRESSIVE ORATOR. 

weekly cattle and cotton market. The close vicinity 
of the royal camp was no great inducement for a halt, 
but as our mules looked so sorry and woebegone, we 
left our night's fare to chance, and rode straight up a 
hill where, under a cluster of trees, the shum and his 
subordinates sat administering justice. His worship 
for a few moments interrupted the business of the 
court in order to salute the strangers, and having 
done this in befitting magisterial style, he again 
squatted on his haunches and complacently listened 
to the oratory of the litigants. 

There were at least half-arhundred fellows who had 
knots in the comer of their ahammcu — ^the sign of an 
Abyssinian law-wrangler, and every one of these 
boisterously clamoured to have his case brought on 
first. A grey-headed neyad, or merchant, the most 
vociferous in the throng, after a good deal of rough 
pushing and elbowing, ascended the little hillock and 
stood erect, as if proud of his strength, in front of 
the wise men of Efag. His dress, which in the jostle 
had become deranged, he now gravely readjusted ; 
and then, raising his right hand as if in adjuration, 
he began his harangue in a tragic and impressive 
manner. There was an earnestness, force, and pathos, 
in the speaker's attitude and voice which roused my 
attention, and drew me nearer to the scene. Ue 
was just narrating some wrongs he had sustained, 
and, although I did not understand half he said, yet 
I could see, that his wild oratory and natiu'al elo- 
quence, had gained him the heart of the unndy 
audience and the sympathy of the grave judge. The 



FAITULESS UUSBANil. 



171 



F 

St 
di 
A 

II fe 

w 






wickedness of Lis opponent, a young dvhlemli, who 
had a I'Ab^smiie marries' Iiis daughter, and, in less 
.than a year, reconeigned her to the paternal care, 

irmed the chief theme of his declamation ; and, as 
such a thing hat! never occurred before, he 
denounced his quondam son-in-law in a withering 
string of invectives, as the most consummate scoun- 
drel that had ever escaped the executioner's knife. 
After this gush of righteous indignation, tlic de- 
fendant rushed forward, and in an elaborate strain 

if equally polite epithets, retaliiited on his assailant, 
already thought that the two combatants would 
never terminate their quarrelj and that probably the 
King would have to adjudicate the delicate question at 
issue, when the judge, who had for some minutes 
been energetically twisting his scanty beard, placidly 
proposed a compromise. To this suggestion the 
scamp of a dehterah positively demurred, but a severe 
warning from the bench silenced his blustering 
tongue, and he promised to pay the discarded woman 
the value of a si/l sitamma* on condition that it 
should release him from all future claim. The old 

father agreed to this proposal, and the hostile and 
passionate opponents, half content and half angry, 
iquitted the scene of thcii" late legal encounter. 

I could have enjoyed for an hour or two longer the 
etrangc transactions of tliis Abyssinian Areopagus, had 

not the waning day urged us to find a retreat for the { 

night. Tlie spot where we had dismounted appeared ' 



sift sliflmma U 
^ture, 18 sbilliogii. 



«"tii'l.b 10 shillings; iiml if <it' suimi 



172 INTEREST IN THE CONTENTS OF THE BIBLE. 

to US very inviting, but as the shum and bis friends 
warned us against the packs of savage hyenas and 
bloodthirsty leopards, for which the whole district is 
infamous, we took their advice and moved an hour 
further north, to the village Bada, 

This little hamlet, which looked so secluded and 
lovely among the high towering rocks, was, much to 
our annoyance, already crowded by a regiment of 
lawless troops, who had taken possession of every 
hut. Determined not to be driven about in all direc- 
tions by wild beasts or savage soldiers we selected a 
dry grassy spot, and, in defiance of every danger, 
arranged our bivouac. The arrival of the travellers 
created quite a sensation in the village and its vicinity, 
and all hastened to have a peep at the white men. 
The commander of the troops, a tall pleasant-looking 
baal kamees who had formerly met Mr. Had, came 
to renew the acquaintance. He was very talkative, and 
manifested a lively interest in our Mission to the 
Jews. Being anxious to obtain a New Testament, 
we gave him a copy in Amharic, out of which he 
immediately read several chapters to our motley 
assembly of armed and unarmed visitors. They 
all expressed their admiration and delight at the 
contents of the inspired volume, and wonderingly 
inquired amongst themselves, why their own priests 
kept truths so beautiful and sublime, disguised in 
a language no one could understand. 

Well aware that the royal army, like a flight of 
locusts, had devoured the land, wc despatched octimes 
several of our people on a foraging expedition. The 



UNSUCCESSFUL FOBAOE. 173 

hungry fellows amply provided with needles, looking- 
glasses, matteba, and salts, set off full of glee towards 
all points of the compass to execute our behest. Their 
research, though most industrious, and stimulated by 
more than twenty-four hours' fiist, was without suc- 
cess, and we had to make our day's meal on a cup 
of strong bitter coffee, whilst our servants frugally 
fared on a few loaves and a gumbo of daUah^ which 
some hospitable peasants charitably brought to our 
camp. 

Hunger and fatigue, wet and cold, are, however, 
incidents of no significance to the Abyssinian tra- 
veller. He breathes good air, traverses beautiful 
scenes, sleeps on fresh and odorific herbage every 
night, and, if blessed with good health, and happy in • 
his work, the few trials and hardships to which he is 
now and then exposed are mere trifles, calculated 
only to break the monotony of his otherwise uniform 
existence. 

At noon the following day, we were on the Tzana^ 
opposite the picturesque and verdant islet of Ma- 
tracha. As we had business to -transact with the 
aliga of the Church, we hailed a boat, and instantly a 
well-shaped lighter, built of colossal rushes, that grow 
in the sea, shoved off from the shore. The primitive 
craft, as it gently glided over the smooth and unruflBed 
deep, forcibly reminded me of the prophet's vessels of 
bulrushes, to which it bore a striking resemblance. 
Several hippopotami, which were sporting in the water, 
excited the hostility of our people (who piously hated 
all unclean animals), and they applied to them the 



FRIENDLY PEASANTS. 175 

family circle in the wilderness, were the most friendly 
natives we had yet met. They generously vied with 
each other to enhance their visitors* comfort, some by 
bringing wood, some by insisting on washing our 
feet, and some by soliciting us to share the luxury of 
their abode. We gratefully accepted every favour 
except the last; and even in this matter we would 
willingly have obliged our entertainers, had not a 
cowardly terror induced us to shrink from a hostile 
encounter with all the living concomitants of an Abys- 
sinian domicile. 

Serenaded into a profound slumber by the harmony 
of the growling leopard and mirthful hyena, the hours 
of the night sped so swiftly by, that our dew-covered 
jpffments were sparkling in the blaze of the morning 
li^t, before we or our people could realize the thought 
^■t it was actually day. A long stage which we had 
to acoompUsh, accelerated our preparations, and we 
were again contentedly toUing over meadows and 
fields, just a? the vapoury mists disappeared from the 
Wogyera mountain-tops. 



176 



CHAPTER XIII. 

Market Visitors — Arcliicjiiscopal Palace — Gondar — A FunersU 
— Toucliing Scene — Belief in Purgatory — Tascar — Filial 
Affection. 

The general anxiety to reach Gondar — the capital of 
Abyssinia, and the loadstone of the natives — before 
evening, imparted fresh strength and elasticity to our 
footsore people, and they bounded along at a rate that 
would have entitled them to the prize had they been 
running a race. A brisk march of several hours 
brought us to Magatch^ which is spanned by a bridge 
of five arches. There we met a good number of people 
who were on their way to the market of the metro- 
polis. The commodities which they had for sale or 
barter were of the most motley character conceivable. 
Here was a man sweating under a heavy bag of teff ; 
and, a Uttle further on, walked a woman carefully 
supporting on her elaborately-curled head a crushing 
gumbo of honey. Now passed a whole group charged 
with garlic and onions, chilies and pepper ; in a few 
minutes more came a procession of donkeys, almost 
smothered beneath bulky and shapeless bales of low- 
land cotton ; and anon, the rugged and steep high- 
way was blocked up by droves of oxen and cows, 
destined to furnish broundo joints to the inhabitants 



ARcniEPISCOPAL PALACE. 



17S 



P 



I 



of the royal city. The peripatetic speculators in the"! 
aDitual and vegetable creation of Ethiopia gazed at ua < 
in wondering surprise, and, for the nonce, business 
was melted in the conjectures excited by the visit c 
the strangers. They were all exceedingly civil 
us, and we passed without inconvenience through thi 
steaming and gaping crowd. 

The animated scene presented by the multitude 
hurrying to market beguiled the tediousncss of ouj 
journey, and brought us iu less time than we anticiJ 
patedto the capital of King Theodoros. His Grace thflg 
Mettopohtan having kindly placed the archiepiscopal 
residence at our disposal, we made straight for Kudus 
Gabriel, where the Primate's steward, who had 
already been apprised by a special messenger of 
our intended visit, gave us a hearty and cordial 
reception. 

The Aboonas palace, which evidently does not date 
back to the time of the magnificent Prestcr Jolm, to 
whom certain questionable authorities assign an Abys- 
siniun origin, stands at the southern corner of a spa< 
cious square. On one side of the quadrangle are a 
range of low stables and the hovels of the domestics ; , 
on another, a garden with a few more primitive and ' 
unsightly dens, in which house the domestic chaplains, 
clerks, and shums of the Primate \ the remaining 
space is monopoHzed by plantations of briers and 
nettles, varied by heaps of decomposing mattei 
,ad stagnant pools. These unseemly sights and 
BDiells did not in the least trouble its. We wei 
tired, and a stone and mud house, where one coul 



^H BDiells di 
^B tired, am 



178 FURNISHED APABTMENT. 

lie down without fear of being devoured by beasts of 
prey, was a luxury that amply compensated for many 
trifling inconveniences. Influenced by these consi- 
derations, we leaped from our saddles, and, bounding 
up a flight of dilapidated stone stairs, found ourselves 
in a small narrow vestibule, whence we groped our 
way into a dark and dusty room. The entrance was 
nearly choked up with hay and straw, which excluded 
every ray of light from gaining ingress at the door ; 
happily, the architect had anticipated such a contin- 
gency, and provided the room with an oblong aper- 
ture as a window, and through this, after removing a 
ponderous shutter, a blaze of light, subdued by clouds 
of dust, came pouring into the prelatial guest-chamber. 
To our infinite satisfaction, the place was utterly des- 
titute of all furniture, and, consequently, of its host 
of attendant plagues. A glance around the bare 
walls also assured us that scorpions, centipedes, spi- 
ders, and other unwelcome intruders had hitherto 
dealt gently with the great Churchman's home, a 
favour seldom extended to any humbler dwelling in 
Abyssinia. All these auspicious signs augured well 
for our comfort during our short stay in the metro- 
polis, and we experienced a sensation of ineffable 
delight as we stretched our weary Umbs on the fresh 
hay which we had profusely spread over the unpaved 
floor. 

Our apartment being now appropriately furnished, 
and all our other wants abundantly supplied from the 
Aboonas flocks and herds, I salUed forth at the first 
flush of day, to have a quiet and undisturbed view of 



VIEW OF GOIJDAIl. 179 

Hidar. Au overhanging grassy platform in thp rear 
[ our premises, just opposite the Gimp, or castle, 
&>rdud mc the best position for satisfying my curiosity, 
■nding on that spot, I beheld, as in a shifting pano- 
lA, the various groups of houses and churches which 
lUpy the Dortheni and 80uth-\pestem side of this 
igc dty. The widely-separated and distinct clus- 
I etf houses, interspersed with fields and trees, pre- 
ptcd, ID the golden glow of the morning, a very 
piking nnd pleasing sight. There, just beneath my 
1st, in a deep ravine, overlooked by several conically- 
Ui|)vd huts, a sparkling brook leaped over its rocky 
1 to the river Gaha, where, almost in the 
Fthe populous Mohammedan quarter, called 
SlV, Mr. Plowden. the English Consid, received 
I dc&thblow from a freebooter's lance. From this 
n, up on a verdant heath, lay the Eichequi Beit, 
pcra the ecclesiastical head of the monks and the 
(ore respectable inhabitants have their dwellings. 
J the left of that irregular elevation, stretched Bada, 
1 its large chim;h and extensive groves, crumbling 
I and squalid hovels, and quite on the summit, 
tjroud the eye's ken, gleamed in the blazing sim the 
bg towers and mined halls of the once stately, 
bt now decayed and almost uninhabitable palace. 
I A plaintive and melancholy wail, wliich suddenly 
nke on my ear, induced mc to return to the square, 
I witness the funeral ceremonies of a young woman 
) fand died the previous night. The priests and 
deacous, who, out of respect for their Primute's ser- 
vant, mustered in strong force, came all fully robed, 



.yi 



180 A FUNERAL. 

and their flaring and tawdry canonicals ill accorded 
with the mournful ceremony they were about to 
perform. Some of the priests went into the house 
where the deceased lay, to comfort the bereaved 
relatives; but the greater number continued out- 
side, waving incense and chanting the Wadasye 
Miryam, or " Ave Maria/* The corpse, which 
in the meantime had been washed and dressed, was 
then laid on an algay and the procession formed. On 
seeing this, the relatives and friends gave vent to 
their uncontrollable grief in the most violent lamenta- 
tions and agonizing cries. Some franticly grasped 
the bier as if they would still retain the beloved 
object ; others gave utterance to the heart's intense 
despair by sobs and sighs, by tearing their hair, rend- 
ing their clothes, and even by dashing their nails into 
their neck and face till the blood trickled down in 
copious streams. The most affecting and touching 
sight was the mother, the old grandmother, and two 
sisters, who, each with some trifling memento of the 
departed in their clasped hands, ran distractedly about 
the court, telling every one some story or incident con- 
nected with those precious relics of an undying love, 
which they continually pressed to their lips, or held to 
their throbbing hearts. 

The prayers being ended the bier was lifted on the 
shoulders of the bearers, and, preceded by the priests, 
moved on towards the church. I did not follow ; but 
as it may interest the reader of these pages, I will add 
the concluding ceremonies connected with the interment 
of the dead. On emerging from the gate, or enclosiu^, 



BELIEF IN PURGATORY. 181 

where the corpse lies, a halt is made, when the priests 
chant a portion of the 119th Psalm, and the confessor, 
on the receipt of a salt, formally absolves the deceased. 
This ceremony, whatever the distance to the cemetery 
may be, is repeated seven times. On arriving near 
the tomb, the friends and relations are once more 
allowed to gaze on the dear object of their affections ; 
and then, during the reading of the concluding eight 
verses of the above Psalm, the body, coffined or 
uncoffined, is lowered into the grave. The mourners 
now retire to the home of the deceased, where every 
morning, for a whole week, the LeksOy or wailing 
ceremony is repeated. During this period no fire 
may be kindled in the house, nor any food pre- 
pared ; but all the wants of the bereaved must be 
provided for by the friends and neighbours, who 
willingly do this, as it is considered a good and 
meritorious work. 

The Abyssinian Church holds the doctrine of pur- 
gatory, and post mortem purification. Its origin 
may be traced to the Jews, though self-interest 
and avarice assign to it a higher source. The num- 
ber of masses requisite for the repose of the soul 
has not been defined by the Church, and thus the 
misery or bliss of the defunct is at the mercy of 
niggardly relatives and exacting priests. At the 
expiration of a fortnight or month, the TascaVy or 
banquet for the dead, is celebrated, when priests and 
debterahs will, in pious devotion, devour a widow's 
last cow, or riot on her hard savings of many years' 
toil. The commemorative feast is repeated once every 



182 THE TASCAR. 

twelve months; and this gluttonous exhibition the 
devout and superstitious family believe enhances the 
bliss of the deceased, and wafts the soul to brighter 
realms. Within the last few years, through the cir- 
culation of the Scriptures in the vernacular tongue, 
more enlightened views have been diffused amongst 
the people, and many now openly ridicule the idea 
that the indecent debauch of depraved ecclesiastics 
can advance the happiness of departed spuits. 

An instance of this altered feeling occurred in a 
village on the plains of Dembea. A 9hufn of con- 
siderable rank, while on a visit to the kolla, or low 
country, caught a dangerous fever, which, on his 
return home, proved fatal. The distracted relatives, 
in the excess of their grief, found some consolation in 
the tears of friends and the cordial sympathy of a 
sorrowing district. Liberality to the priests, and 
kindness to the poor had won the defunct official 
golden opinions, and bands of ecclesiastics and men- 
dicants, in hypocritical rivalry, emulated each other 
in extolling the many virtues which had adorned his 
character. The sorrow-stricken widow and bereaved 
children, in the exuberance of their gratitude for the 
consolation so generously proffered, bestowed hand- 
some largesses on several churches and the mass- 
saying priests. A grand Tascar was also ere long ap- 
pointed, and, in eager expectation of a profuse supply 
of detcJiy dallahy and broundo, groups of hungry guests, 
from far and near, were wending their way on the 
auspicious day towards the house of mourning. The 
son of the late district authority, a shrewd, waggish 



FILIAL APPECTION. 183 

fellow, who had more concern for the patrimony 
than for his ancestor's soul, deferentially welcomed 
the grinning, bowing, and flattering multitude. A 
whole string of complimentary and unmeaning phrases 
having been duly exchanged between the host and 
his guests, the conversation spontaneously turned on 
the many noble qualities of the late haal 6eit, which 
every one eulogized in most extravagant terms. ''And 
do you, my fathers, really believe," inquired the 
dutiful son, '' that my good and honoured parent is in 
the blest abode of the righteous?" "No doubt," 
shouted each broundo craving throat, '' he is in Abra- 
ham's bosom." " If this is true," returned the scru- 
pulous inquirer, " and who can question the words of 
the holy fathers P he is in a safe and happy place, and 
I must not disturb him by a Tascar*' The con- 
founded reverends sought to modify and retract their 
verdict, but the pious host was inexorable in his filial 
resolve, and high and low, priests and beggars, were 
compelled to march off with hunger unappeased. 



184 



CHAPTER XIV. 

FclUmIum — Early Settlement in Abyssinia — Chequered Exist- 
ence — Prejudices against Unbelievers — Deprecate Early Mar- 
riages — Offer Sacrifices — Perform the Ceremonial Law — 
Strictly Observe the Sabbath — Possess no Correct Ideas about 
the Messiah — Priestly Superstitions — Mistaken Sanctity. 

Falashas, from the Etliiopic falas, to which this 
book owes its title, signifies exile, and is the name by 
which the Jews in Abyssinia are designated. The 
period of their settlement, in that remote coimtry, is 
involved in uncertainty. According to their own 
tradition, and the concurrent testimony of native 
Christian writers, they came to Ethiopia in the reign 
of Maqueday the Queen of Sheba. This princess who, 
in the lays and legends of the country, is portrayed 
in the most glowing and extravagant colours, had 
frequently heard from merchants and traders of the 
magnificence and wisdom of the Jewish Monarch. 
Curiosity, not unmixed with a touch of pardonable 
vanity, prompted her to visit the comi; of the 
wise and famous Solomon. Her faultless beauty, and 
intellectual sagacity, won for her the favour and 
assiduous attentions of the gifted King ; and after a 
lengthened sojourn at Jerusalem she returned to her 
own dominions, laden with munificent presents, and, 
what greatly enhanced her happiness, with a youthM 



rnlcr 



■^ FALASBA SETTLEMENT. 185 

Tieir and prince, in tlic person of her son Menilek. The 
bond of friendship and union between the two mighty 
rulers, initiated by mutual regard and cemented by 
tenderest affection, was made still more lasting 
ind secure by religious sympathy. In the train of 
the illustrious princess, besides a number of distin- 
guished Jews from every tribe, was Azariah, the son 
of the High-priest Zadok, to whom the pious parent 
had spt'cially intrusted the education of Menilek and 
the guardianship of the tahot, or transcript of the 
^Bnv. The impetuous zeal of the emigrants found 
^Kiple scope for its loftiest inspiration in the new 
^Borld to which they were transplanted, and in 
^^fee course of a few years the worship of the God 
Bh Israel extensively supplanted the idolatries of 
Ethiopia. 

Prom these vague ti'aditions in which truth and 

Eion are inextricably jumbled together, the inquirer 
s not gain much trustworthy information on the 
ory of Ethiopia, and the settlement of the Jews 
in that country. The most probable conjecture is, 
that at a very early period — perhaps when Solomon's 
fleet navigated the Red Sea — some adventui-ous Jews, 
impelled by love of gain, settled among the pleasant 
hills of Arabia Felix ; whilst others of a more daring 
and enterprising spirit were induced to try their for- 
tune in the more remote, though not less salubrious, 
Iiuntain scenes of Ethiopia. The Queen of Sheba's 
it to Solomon, whether she reigned over both or 
ly one of those countries, is an incontestable proof 
it the wise King's fume had spread far beyond his 



186 ANNIHILATION OF THEIR INDSPXNDENCB. 

own empire. To subjects of a monarch so renowned 
for wisdom, wealth and power, a gracious reception 
was, no doubt, everywhere accorded, and the new set- 
tlers, in their prosperity abroad, probably soon forgot 
the attractions of their home in Judea. Subsequent 
troubles in Palestine and the final overthrow of the 
Jewish monarchy by Nebuchadnezzar, increased the 
number of the emigrants, and in the lapse of a few 
centuries the Jews formed a powerful State in Arabia, 
and a formidable and turbulent people in the Alpine 
regions between Tiyri and Amhara in Ethiopia. 

The legend of Menilek and the supposed descent 
of the Abyssinian Sovereigns from the line of So- 
lomon, unquestionably exercised a salutary influence 
in favour of the Jews, and contributed more than 
anything else towards the spread of those Mosaical 
rites and ceremonies, which to this day are still 
so extensively engrafted on the Christianity of the 
country. On the promulgation of the Grospel the 
Jews, who had now become scattered all over 
the western plains of Tschelga and Dembea, retired 
again to their mountain fastnesses of Semien and 
Bellesa, where under their own kings and queens, 
called Gideon and Judith, they maintained till the 
beginning of the 17th century a chequered and in- 
dependent existence. With the fall of their last 
ruler, and the capture of their strongholds, the 
Falashas were driven from their rocky homes, and 
forced to seek a refuge in the midst of their ene- 
mies, the detested Amharas. The provinces where 
they at present reside are Dembea^ Quara, TTog- 



MORAL CHARACTER. 



fra, Ttfchdya, end Godjam, where their settlements 

strikingly distinguished from the Clirietian 

' tillages by the red earthen pot on the npex of 

their mesquid, or place of worship, whicli towers 

from the centre of the thatched huts by which it is 

invariably environed. 

Claiming a lineal descent from Abraham, Isaac, 
and Jacob, the Falaahas pride themselves on the fame 
of their progenitors, and the piu-ity of the blood that 
circulates in their own veins. Intermarriages with 
those of another tribe or creed are strictly interdicted, 
nay, even the visit to an unbeliever's house is a sin, 
and subjects the transgressor to the penance of a 
thorough Instration and a complete change of dress 
before he can return to his own home. Their stem 
imcompromising sectarian spirit has been highly 
beneficial in excluding from their community that 
licentious profligacy in which oil the other inhabitants 
of Ethiopia riot ; and it is generally admitted that 
Falosha men and women seldom, if ever, stray from 
the path of virtue, or transgress the solemn law of 
the decalogue. 

The bane of early marriages — the blight of domestic 
happiness and holy affection in so many countries, 
the Jew in Abyssinia justly deprecates, and no parent 
will give his daughter to a man who is not con- 
lidons of the responsibility he contracts, and ^villing 
labour for the woman he has wooed. Most of the 
len enter into the marital state at an age vaiying 
from twenty to thirty, and the woman from fifteen to 
twenty ; and the troth once plighted, no priestly 



|m( 



188 SACRIFICES. 

power can ever annul. Polygamy they do not prac- 
tise, nor are their daughters and wives shut up in 
closely-fenced huts as amongst the Christian mag- 
nates ; on the contrary, they enjoy immunity from all 
slavish restraint, and their graceful and modest deport- 
ment is the best proof that they are worthy of it. 

Faithful in their domestic relations, the Falashas 
are also, as far as their limited knowledge of the 
Scriptures extends, faithful to their religious con- 
victions. The law of Moses, which they profess to 
observe, is the formula after which they have moulded 
their worship; and it sounds strange to hear in 
central Africa of a Jewish altar and atoning sacri- 
fices. Their mesquida* like the Christian Churches, 
consist of three divisions, with an entrance towards 
the east. The admission into these different courts 
is rigorously regulated by the Levitical law, and the 
severest penalty would be inflicted on any one who 
should incautiously pollute the sacred edifice. In the 
rear of every place of worship is a small enclosure 
with a huge stone in the centre ; and on this crude 
altar the victim is slaughtered, and all other sacrificial 
rights performed. This sanctum is as sacredly guarded 
from unlawful intrusion as the rest of the premises, 
and woe betide the stranger who, ignorant of Falasha 
customs, ventures too close to the forbidden precincts. 
Before I had been initiated into the mysteries of 
mesquid architecture, I was one day on the very 
verge of committing this unpardonable offence. It 

* This word is evidently derived from the Hebrew T^ID " to 
worship." 



HASTY RETREAT, 



189 



was & very sultry anil close uoou when, after several 
lioiirs' fatiguing march, we reached a Fulasha village. 
Eager to obtain a short rest, I went in quest of a cool 
and qniet shelter, when accidentally I espied in the 
midst of a secluded grassy spot a smooth block, that 
looked as if it had been charitably placed there to 
invite the weary to solitude and repose. The thorny 
stockade easily yielded to the ii'on of niy laoce, and 
I was just about to ensconce myself behind the 
flattened stone when a ehorus of angry voices, made 
still more clamorous by the ever-tantalizing echo, 
reminded me of my mistake, and urged me to beat 
a hasty retreat. 

The painful scarcity of the sacred volume among 
the Falashas, which forcibly reminds one of the pa- 
itic denunciatioo in Amos, ch. viii., 11, 12, is 
libitcd in their unconscious deviation from that 
very law wluch they so loudly profess to observe. 
Their sacrifices are most capriciously offered, and, 
ith the exception of the Paschal Lamb, neither the 
Tcring on the Sabbath nor on the day of atonement 
in accordance with the original command. Ignorant 
the priests and their people are of the contents of 
'a Word, they possess a most familiar knowledge 
those chapters in Leviticus that treat of the laws 
purification. Saturday after Saturday the Falasha 
igregations throughout Abyssinia, hear in their 
'uida an exposition or discourse on that edifying 
ic ; even a stranger, whom the officiating ministers 
agn to honour, is condemned to listen amidst the 
lodious /« la la's of the women to a chapter 
iscribing leprosy, plague, or other ills which sin and 



the 
KOet 



190 CRUSL PROHIBITIONS. 

dirt, vice and ungodliness have entailed on offending 
humanity. To provide for any such contingency every 
Falasha settlement has a hut at its outskirts, and 
there the unclean and impure must take refuge 
during the prescribed number of days. 

This ritual scrupulosity involves many social hard- 
ships, and inflicts on numbers many a keen pang. 
Particularly in the hour of dissolution, when the 
sweet expressions of friendship and love are so sooth- 
ing to the agonized soul and anguished frame, the 
dying Falasha has no affectionate hand clasped in his, 
and no words of comfort from beloved objects 
whispered in his ears. The inflexible law forbids 
the last offices to the weeping relative, and the help- 
less sufferer is in death's agonizing convulsicms 
dragged from the weary couch into the open air, 
where the polluted and unclean remove him from the 
bare ground to the tainted and lonely hut. 

The feasts ordained in Scripture are regularly 
observed by the Falashas, though with less rigour 
than by the Jews in other parts of the world. Pass- 
over, which also according to Exodus xii. 2, marks 
the commencement of their new year, is solemnized 
by offering the appointed sacrifice, and by the sub- 
stitution of unleavened for leavened bread. These 
passover cakes they do not prepare beforehand in the 
orthodox style, but each family bakes every day the 
quantity requisite for the household. On the feast of 
Pentecost, the feast of trumpets, the day of atone- 
ment, and the feast of tabernacles, the people bring 
their offerings to the mesquids and also join in appro- 
priate commemorative prayers, but beyond this and 



0B8ERYANCX OV TSK SABBAXB. 191 



• If • 



abstinence ftom agricnltiinl pmsoits, tkqr 

blow the horn, erect booths, nor pnctise the other 

ancient ceremonies oi the sjn^agogoe. 

Bnt^ notwithstanding this Mffpueoit badtr in the 
observance of their other festirals, they entotmi the 
most rigid notions as to the sanctitj of the Sdbhgfh 
The preparations for the due oektsatian of this acfed 
day colnmence on 'Friday at noon, wiien ereiy one, who 
is not prevented by iUness, lepmn to an idpoent rnrer 
to bathe and change his garb. This task aooom- 
plished, the majority lazily saunter about in the fietds, 
or indolently recline on the grassy margin of some 
qparkling stream till sunset snmmcms to the wiesqmd. 
The service, which consists in rhAnting Psalms and 
hymns relieved by aU^orical st<Hrie8, and a fiew Tcrses or 
a chapter of the book of Leviticus, lasts a oons^rable 
time, and in some places, the plaintive notes of the ww- 
shippers may even be heard across the quiet valley 
and around the lonely hill throughout the night. This 
extreme religious fervomr the priests exdusively mono- 
polize, nor do their flocks envy them a privilege, which 
would rob them after six days' toil of that very rest 
and physical health, which the Sabbath was designed 
to promote. 

Early on the following morning, knots of figures 
enveloped in the graceful folds of a white cotton dress, 
are again seen trooping up the narrow lane and over the 
green sward towards the humble building dedicated 
to the worship of God. The service of the mesquid 
having been duly celebrated, the people again 
repair to their huts, where, after a cold and frugal 



192 A PRATER. 

repast, they either indulge in a nap, or meet together 
for social intercourse. Most of the priests remain in 
the house of prayer from Friday night till Saturday 
evening, and no trifling circumstance could induce the 
few whom sickness or age forces to retire to transgress 
the misinterpreted command : '' Let no man go out of 
his place on the seventh day." 

Some of the prayers used in the mesquid are full 
of devotional sentiments and impressive ejaculations. 
Thus, on Saturday morning, they begin : — 

" Thou, O Lord, hearest in heaven the worship of 
thy saints ; hear us also when we cry unto thee in thy 
holy temple. O Lord, be not angry with us, nor 
suffer us to be destroyed. Remember the covenant 
of our fathers, whom thou didst redeem out of Egypt's 
bondage, and forgive us our sins, and blot out our 
transgressions, which have separated us from thee. 

" God of our fathers, turn unto us, and cause us to 
live. 

" God of Abraham, turn imto us, and cause us to 
Uve. 

" God of Isaac, turn unto us, and cause us to live. 
God of Jacob, turn unto us, and cause us to live. 
God of angels, turn unto us, and cause us to live. 

" O Lord, lead us into the right way, and give 
peace unto Zion, and salvation unto Jerusalem.'* 

Removed from their native land long before the 
final dispersion of their race, the Falashas have con- 
tinued free from many of the burdens, which phari- 
saical pride and arrogance imposed on the superstitious 
credulity of other Jews. Broad phylacteries and the 






FOND HOPES. 193 

garments of firinges are utterly unknown among them, 
nor do they wash the cup, or practise any of the de- 
crees of the rabbins. They fast twice a-week, and 
forty days before Easter ; but, I believe, in this matter 
the Falaska priests have reciprocated the plagiarism on 
their own rehgious system by the Christian fathers. 
About the advent of the Messiah they have no inteUi- 
gent or definite idea. " We believe that Jerusalem 
will again be rebuilt" is the answer on the lip of 
every Falasha^ when questioned as to the future 
destiny of his nation. This event they regard as the 
consummation of their brightest hopes — the reaUza- 
tion of their fondest mundane visions. Against our 
Lord they cherish none of those prejudices, which 
have become interwoven with the faith of their people 
in all other lands. The prophecy in Gen. xUx. 10 ; 
Deut xviii. 15 ; and Isa. vii. 14, they readily refer to 
Jesus, the greatest of all prophets; but, on being 
taxed with their unbelief in not recognizing His claims, 
the common people naively reply, " We are ignorant 
and accept what our priests teach ;" and the priests 
find an apology in saying, " We adhere to the faith 
and customs handed down to us by our fathers." 

Exemplary in their morals, cleanly in their habits, 
and devout in their belief, the Falashas are also indus- 
trious in the daily pursuits and avocations of life. 
Husbandry and a few simple trades — such as smiths, 
potters, and weavers — constitute the sole occupations 
In which they engage ; commerce they unaniaiously 
repudiate as incompatible with their Mosaic Creed, 
8|id it is quite a disappointment not to find a single 



194 SPREAD OF FANATICISM. 

merchant among a quarter of a million of people, the 
lineal descendants of those who are supposed to have 
acquired a taste for traffic and riches, on the Very eve of 
their emancipation from Egyptian servitude. 

The conscientious fidelity of the Falasha to the law, 
is strangely inverted by the very priests who pretend 
to be its props and support. According to the unim- 
peachable annals of the Church, Christianity was 
introduced into Abyssinia at the commencement of 
the fourth century, in the year of our Lord 330. 
The Jewish religion, free from all traditional cor- 
ruptions antecedent to this date, as has already 
been mentioned, had numerous adherents both in 
Ilabesh and across the Straits, in Arabia the Happy. 
Islamism, which, like an irresistible equatorial con- 
flagration, spread its devastating and devouring 
flames from the Indus to the Ganges, and from the 
Wall of China to the Pillars of Ilercides, annihil- 
ated the Jewish polity in the land of its birth, and 
offered the alternative of death or the Koran. The 
existence of a Jewish colony in an adjacent continent, 
no doubt induced many to seek liberty in exile, 
and toleration in penury. Fanaticism, like an epi- 
demic, intensified by persecution, was fed in soli- 
tude, and ripened on Semiens stem and craggy 
heights. The poor emigrants, having preferred po- 
verty and want to liberty and a hated creed, now 
sought to infuse their own spirit of bigotry into 
their coreligionists; and as the Christians had not 
profited much by the Gospel, so the Jews had 
evidently not been much benefited by the solemn 



G0R60RIUS THE REFORMER. 195 

spirihial truths taught by Moses. Sacrifices and mis- 
understood ceremonies constituted then, as at present, 
their whole religious system. The people, who 
always recognized in their spiritual guides the arbi- 
trators of their future weal or woe, willingly paid 
them, as they still do, the homage of their hearts, and 
the tithe of all their earthly possessions. Human 
ambition, however, is quite as soaring • in Central 
Africa as in civilized Europe, and the grasping priest, 
not content with his sacerdotal character, must needs 
be also distinguished from the common herd by the 
sanctity of his person, and the immaculate purity of 
his life. The laxity of morals amongst the Christians, 
which had also infected the Jews, afforded the longed- 
for opportunity, and a fanatic called Gorgorius, who 
proclaimed himself a prophet, loudly denounced the 
prevailing evil, and enjoined on all who would follow 
him to take the same steps as those who in the earlier 
days of Christianity put a mistaken construction on 
one of our Lord's sayings in Matt. xix. 

Impelled by a blind and implicit faith in the re- 
generator of their caste, these priests, after their 
initiation frequently pass months and years^ like the 
Christian hermit in times of yore, in swampy marshes, 
stem wilds, and poisonous jungles, where roots or 
dried peas, (which latter they carry with them,) are 
their only means of sub^stence. Numbers succumb 
to the noxious influence of the atmosphere, others 
perish of famine, whilst not a few become the prey of 
the lion, tiger, hyena, and other voracious and venom- 
ous beasts, which inhabit those unsightly tracts. 

o2 



196 THE DISAPPOINTED ASCETIC. 

These hardships and dangers, one would think, were 
quite enough to deter any one &om so hazardous and 
difficult a novitiate; but such is the contagion of 
fanaticism, that not only will many patiently for years 
and years endure pains and privation, hunger and 
toil, but scores, in the wild frenzy of their disordered 
imagination, will, every year during the rainy season, 
seek peace for their troubled souls, by a voluntary 
grave, in the deep and rapid streams which intersect 
the whole land. Debterah Negomee^ an honest and 
candid Fala^ha, told me he knew a priest who threw 
himself into a boisterous river flowing through ArmaU 
gioho^ but as the current was very strong, and the 
banks in some parts on a level with the water, he was 
drifted ashore in a state of stupor. The self-immo- 
lating ascetic, when consciousness returned, felt deeply 
afflicted at this escape from premature death ; and as 
if some great misfortune had befallen him, he lamented 
in his restoration to earth, an imaginary unfitness 
for heaven. Those who thus inflict on themselves 
all the tortures and wasting agonies frail humanity 
can endure, are regarded by the common people with 
great veneration ; though others, and particularly the 
debtor ahs, or learned class, consider them proud, arro- 
gant, and self-righteous fanatics. The dwellings and 
convents of these ascetics are carefully isolated from 
the abodes of the impiure and unholy people ; nay, as 
every contact with the common herd comminiicito 
contamination, and involves laborious lavations of 
body and dross, they will not eat, drink, or sleep in 
the houses ^^ '^^hcr people; even their own fields 



STRIKING PEATURES. 197 

must be cultivated, the harvest reaped, and the bread 
prepared by themselves or younger monks. • 

There is something in the very appearance of these 
ascetics, which proclaims them martjrrs to their own 
bigotry and self-created delusion. The common 
people have all an erect, upright carriage, altogether 
free from that nervous and shrinking diffidence which 
external tyranny or internal despair engender ; but the 
priests, whenever their own piety and self-righteous 
deeds are not questioned, have, as a body, the im- 
happy look, the knitted brow, the restless glance 
which speak of corroding cares and hopeless anguish. 
In physiognomy, most of the Falashas bear striking 
traces of their Semitic origin. Among the first group 
we saw at Gondar^ there were some whose Jewish fea- 
tures no one could have mistaken, who had ever seen the 
descendants of Abraham either in London or Berlin. 
Their complexion is a shade paler than that of the 
Abyssinians, and their eyes, although black and spar- 
kling, are not so disproportionately large as those 
which characteristically mark the other occupants of 
the land. 

These people so isolated from the rest of the world, 
and so unsocial in all their habits, presented most 
formidable obstacles to the success of missionary 
efforts. To despise and abhor every alien creed as 
worthless and false, has always been the secret boast 
of the priest, and an essential lesson enforced at the 
mesquid. The idolatries and gross superstitions of 
the various races and tribes in and around Ethiopia 
rendered such intolerance not only justifi 

^' 



198 ADONAI. 

absolutely necessary, and one can scarcely wonder 
that the Hebrew, in the midst of these moral wastes 
and sin-stained regions, should consider himself the 
sole possessor of the true faith — the sole adorer of* the 
true and invisible God. News of our arrival in the 
country, and of the object we sought to achieve, no 
sooner spread through their scattered settlement, 
than, in an ebullition of mistaken zeal, they solemnly 
resolved not to have any intercourse with men who, as 
it had been misrepresented to them, were anxious to 
wean them from the spiritual worship of the great 
Jdonai* of Israel to the senseless idols of the Abys- 
sinian Church. The delay in obtaining the requisite 
official sanction to our work, which we found ex- 
tremely harassing at the time, was, however, under an 
overruling Providence made subservient to allay their 
bigotry and to remove their groundless fears. That 
our belief diflFered materially from that of the detested 
Amharasy they had already heard from soldiers in the 
royal camp, and monks on the roadside ; and when 
they received exaggerated intelligence of the Aboonas 
opposition to our efforts, their curiosity was roused 
to the highest pitch, and priests and common people 
manifested a most anxious solicitude to hear the extra- 
ordinary strangers, whom pure compassion for their 
souls' welfare, had prompted to encounter the dangers 
of a long and weary journey. 

* The tetragammaton, or iiieflfablc name of Jehovah, fre- 
quently occurs in the Falaalia prayers, and they attach a great 
mystery to its signification. 



I 

i 



199 



CHAPTER XV. 

Vifiit to Avomo — Jews in Bcitiak Unilbnii — ^Aidocsskn «f tfe 
Queen of England — Scope of the Law — T^im 
Castle of the Waiz(m»— -The Proud Monk knnbAoi— M/i 
meat at Fanlidat^ Hotae— BanaiiK a£ farmer ^r«fei^— Afii 
Blustcation — ^The Shadow King — ^UnooufcrtaUe X'mrj — 
Church of St^ Anaatastns — R Uunjf oe SititaSMi — Dt-rocar*- 
less WoTshippen — TnmwihBtamtrtian — CocrrcnKei <^ a 
Sceptic — ^Worthy CommnnicanlB — ^The 7«&f<L 

The impassable golph b^ween us and the Falatia* 
being now bridged OTer, we at oooe oonmieDoed oar 
missionary work bj Tilting Avono, half-ao-hoar^s 
distance south-west of Gomdar. This village^ which 
lies on the other side 6[ the river (roi^^ oo a rich 
and fertile plain, consists of about thiitj Wjn§e» znd 
a mesquid. Forbidden bj cereouHiial rigour frora 
entering a Ftdasia dwelling, we took shelter frc^i thi^; 
vertical rays of a scorching sun, behind a dilapidated 
wall, overshadowed by the mimosa and the graceful 
euphorbia. The report of our arrival imtAui\y 
attracted every one, who was at home, to the «pr/t 
where we had alighted After the usual salutations, 
we inquired whether they had any religious booku, to 
which they replied, " We have Moses and David/' 
On this we rejoined, "Do you also believe in tlio 
Prophets, and in Christ, of whom all tlic inHjiiml 
writers unitedly testify?" They hesitf ' •"*!'% 



200 DESIRE FOR INSTRUCTION. 

and then said, in a timid tone of voice, as if conscious 
that they were uttering an untruth, " We keep the 
law." We reminded then^ that they could neither 
keep the law, and that the law was not able, even if 
they possessed the ability to perform all its rites, and 
to conform to all its ordinances, to procure for them 
pardon of sins, or acceptance with God. We further 
told them that a sacrifice far more precious than 
those that bled on the altar in the temple was indis- 
pensable, and that Christians possessed this sacrifice 
in Christ, who, by His vicarious sufi^ering, atoned for 
our guilt, and provided for our justification. They 
cordially assented to every word we said, and only 
regretted that they were too ignorant to retain all 
these precious truths. To our inquiry whether they 
had any desire to learn, they exclaimed with an im- 
ploring expression in their black lustrous eyes, " 
yes ! O yes ! " We then informed them that we were 
also Falas/tas, who, moved by compassion for their 
hopeless and deplorable condition, had crossed seas 
and deserts, dreary swamps and unsightly wilds, to 
communicate to them those tidings of mercy, which 
alone can secure peace to the troubled conscience, 
and fill the soul with love to a sin-hating God. They 
were exceedingly grateful for our interest in tAeir 
spiritual welfare and everlasting happiness. At our 
departure they all acconrpanied us, and we had several 
times to entreat them to return, before they could be 
persuaded to tear themselves away from their unex- 
pected friends. 

On our way home we visited Kudus YoAannei, 



AN EXTRAVAGANT ARTIST. 201 

which neat to that at Quosquam, is the handsomest and 
most gorgeously bedaubed of the forty-four churches 
in and around Gofidar. Like all these edifices, it is 
built in a circular shape, surrounded by a high wall, 
and groves of stately cypresses which, whilst they 
impart a gloomy and solemn aspect, also tend to 
invest these spots with all the loneliness and desola- 
tion of the shrines dedicated to the demons and gods 
of heathen mythology. 

Having Grebra U^ziadeher, the principal steward of 
the Aboona for our cicerone, the doors of Kudm 
Yohannea flew open at our approach, and, without 
any question, we were permitted to enter the corridor 
which divides the court of the priests from the Kudm 
Kudusan, or holy of holies. The ecclesiastics, who 
had collected around us, anxious to elicit the white 
man*s admiration for the works of native genius and 
art, complacently directed our gaze to the various daubs 
which covered its walls; but although St. George 
and the Dragon, |ingels and fiends, heaven and hell, 
were portrayed in the most outrageous colours, the 
whole interior of this sacred edifice presented a most 
unpleasing sight. One aspuing artist, weary perhaps 
of the antiquated cherubims and saints, the blazing 
flames, and leafy bowers, which are the ordinary 
ornament of their churches, had sought immortal 
fame by painting quite a new subject — ^the Migration 
of the Israelites. In his picture he represented them 
marching in soldier-Uke attitude over the heaving and 
surging waves of the red sea, clad in British uniform, 
with muskets and bayonets on their shoulders. I 



202 ADORATION OF THE QUEEN OF ENGLAND. 

inquired of our attendants, from whence the Ethiopian 
Raphael had stolen the Frankish dress, with which 
he had indued the Hebrew emigrants, but they 
evidently atf^buted the sublime idea to inspiration, 
though, as I subsequently learned. Kudus Yohannes 
was indebted for this unique historical picture to the 
gentlemen who accompanied the mission of Captain 
Harris to the court of Shoa. 

The Embassy, besides their unconscious contribution 
to the treasures of Abyssinian art, had also honoured 
Sakcde Safasee, the then reigning monarch, with a 
portrait of Her Majesty Queen Victoria. The de- 
scendant of Solomon, who, from the valuable presents 
he received, thought England an El Dorado and her 
people magicians, justly appreciated the likeness of 
the distinguished Sovereign. In the Penetralia of 
the palace at Ankobar, where none but the privileged 
few dared to venture, the royal portrait lay securely 
guarded amidst the regalia of the Ethiopian Empire 
till the death of the despot. His heir and successor, 
Ilailn, Malakoty to atone for some indiscretion, pre- 
sented it in pious contrition to the Cathedral Church, 
and there the people flock on all grand festivities to 
worship it as the representation of the Virgin Mary. 

In the afternoon we had an animated and length- 
ened discussion with priests, debterahs, and lay 
people, on the subject of pictures and their idolatrous 
tendency. The majority acknowledged the sinfulness 
of this practice, though at the same time they sought, 
by a few stupid and senseless excuses, such as the 
ignorance of the people, and their want of acquaint- 



SCOPE OP THE LAW. 203 

ance with Scripture history, to palliate this wilful 
transgression of the second commandment. 

Our visit to Avorno was returned by eighteen 
adults and Jerusalim, their Shum or civil chief of the 
district— a Baal Katnees^ or nobleman by rank. We 
asked them many questions about their history and 
settlement, but all they knew was the old fable that 
Menilek, the son of the Queen of Sheba by Solomon, 
brought them to Abyssinia. Not wishing to dilate on 
this unprofitable topic, we diverged to another — the 
end and aim of the law. Like the Jews in Europe, 
they cherished the fanciful notion that by adhering to 
certain observances and ritual ceremonies, they were 
keeping the law and justified before God. That the 
design of the moral and civil polity revealed to Moses 
on Sinai and in the wilderness, was to wean the 
people from idolatry, and, by a long array of types, 
impressive ceremonies, and significant rites, to pre- 
pare them for the reception of a more ennobling, 
more spiritual, and more holy faith, even that of the 
Gospel, had never been heard among them ; and 
consequently they were not a little amazed when 
we told them that God, as their King, Benefactor and 
Deliverer, gave them regulations for their temporal 
conduct ; and, as their final Judge, precepts to define 
the heinousness of sin, the necessity of an atone- 
ment, and that too not an atonement consisting in 
the blood or life of a slaughtered animal, but an ex- 
piation like that of the Redeemer, who, by sustaining 
oiup guilt, satisfied Divine justice, and supplied us 
with the means for the renovation of our fallen 



204 A PECULIAR PAITBT. 

nature, and continual progress in holiness. We t 
pointedly adverted to their sacrifices, and from D< 
xii. plainly showed them that they were not c 
interdicted, but were actually sinful in a place 
chosen by God. Some captious Christian debtei 
now wanted to show their polemical acumen, bi 
promptly silenced them by asking whether they i 
their Church believed in the New Testament ? ( 
debterahy Salasee^ a quiet, humble, and I tn 
enlightened man, quickly retorted, "We hav( 
peculiar faith." " Then," retunied I, " if you hai 
peculiar faith, it cannot be that of the Gospel ; an 
it is not of the Gospel, it is false ! " They admil 
the justice of the censure, and without further in 
ruption listened most attentively to our conversat 
with the Jews. 

On the following morning, very early, Dehte 
KcffoNscey the teacher at Avonio, togi^thcr with I 
other FaIa>s/iaSy entered our room. Their sad i 
dospoiiding looks were an unmistakable index of 
unfavourable tidings they had to communicate, 
long pause, during which nothing but their dc 
drawn sighs were audible, made me imwittinprlv sni 
and in a cheering tone I said, "Don't be afraic 
imburdcn your hearts, if you have no message 
exile, prison, or immediate execution/' Aly c 
apparent confidence imparted coiu'age to our visit( 
and they told us that their pcoi)le had sent th 
to ascertain from us personally, the truth of 
rumour, that we wanted to make the Fafashas Ch 
tians per force, "for if that statement is correc 



FALSE REPORT. 205 

they added, " we are commissioned to inform you 
that every Jew and Jewess will resist, even to death, 
the faintest attempt at coercion ; but if, on the con- 
trary, (and they will believe your words,) you have 
come to teach them truths that can be proved from 
God's Word, they will gratefully listen to your in- 
structions/' We gave our unqualified denial to 
this report, which savoured of the intolerant Amhara^ 
and in return requested them to inform the Jews 
that we could not, would not, and dared not, as 
we were strangers, use violence towards any one 
of his Majesty's subjects; nay, more, they might 
solemnly aver in our name, that, if all the Falashas 
were ready and willing to be baptized, we would 
not administer that sacred rite to a single individual 
without previous instruction and unmistakable evi- 
dences of conviction and conversion. They were 
delighted with the reply, and promised to report what 
we had said to all their people. 

On the same day, at nine a.m., we rode to Defatsha, 
a village an hour's distance east of Gondar, inhabited 
by about forty Falasha famihes. The morning was 
beautifully cool, and every object, from the simple 
hut of the peasant to the desolate castle of the King, 
looked attractive in the roseate hues oi the sun. A 
substantial building, surmounted by a solid tower, 
which stood in melancholy isolation to the left of our 
road, formed the only sad sight in this illuminated 
panorama. Our guides told us that this edifice in 
the days of Abyssinia's bygone splendour and pros- 
perity, contained the apartments of the JTaizoros, i 



DESOLATE PALACE. 



princesses, ond was counected with the palace by 
a private park, in which royalty sought release from 



the cares and trnul)lcs of ciiipiro. Its lonely position 
favours the conjecture, and there is every reason to 
believe that in the deep embrasures of the iiiaHin: 
wall, where earrioii-fcedinfi birds now make thrir 
nests, the dark beauties and voluptuous princesses o( 
Ethiopia once inhaled the pcifurue of fragrant shrubs, 
or indolently enjoyed the soft mountain brooz^ dariag 
tlic uoDuday heat. 



THE HOLT MONK. 207 

Passing by the Gimp and several churches, we 
threaded our way down a shelving path to the river 
Angareh ; and climbing an almost perpendicular rock 
on the opposite bank, we reached the village of which 
we were in quest. To our disappointment, most of 
the men were either absent in the field or at work in 
Gandar : happily the Falcisha women do not share 
the bigotry of their superstitious sisters in other 
landSf and as they gladly flocked around us, we soon 
liftd an orderly and very respectable audience. On 
% parapet before the mesquid, where, contrary to 
ntnal injunction, we had alighted, sat, immovable 
M a statue, a strange and impressive specimen of 
ihe Jewish monkish fraternity. 

To tli6 horror and disgust of this apparent auto- 
maton, we seated ourselves on the same wall, though 
not near enough to the santon to pollute him by oiu* 
pro&ne touch. Without any exordium or preliminary 
conversation, frequently so necessary even among 
semi-barbarians, we asked the holy man, why he had 
assumed the attire of a monk, since in the Hebrew 
Scriptures monasticism was indirectly, if not directly, 
prohibited by the injunction that the priest should 
be a married man. With a mingled expression 
of scorn and perplexity, the ascetic piously replied, 
"Among the children of Israel there have been 
monks ever since Aaron the high-priest instituted the 
order." " Ah, monoxy," (monk,) was our rejoinder, 
" we greatly fear that you are better acquainted with 
the deserts in which you have wandered than with 
God's Word, which you ought to have studied ; for if 



208 SINCERE CONTBITION. 

you had devoted your idle time to that profitable 
subject, you would have discovered that Aaron was a 
married man, and had sons who succeeded him in the 
oflfice of the priesthood.'* He was evidently crest- 
fallen, and gazed at us through his hollow eyes with 
an expression of wonder and incredulity, which men 
of a fiery and untamed temper, in eastern as well as 
African climes, instantly assume when a atartling 
truth flashes on their slumbering faculties. From the' 
monk we turned to the interesting assemblage befinre 
us, and in plain and simple language expounded 
to them the truths of the Gospel. The wondeifiij^ •, 
story of our Lord's humanity, sufiering and ilrntt^ij 
visibly affected them all, but particularly one old^^ 
woman, who, unable to restrain her emotion, Btpnif^^ 
up suddenly, and in accents of thrilling eloquflUCfl 
exclaimed, '* Oh, how great is our guilt, that we rejeel 
love so divine and despise blood so precious ! " Even 
the old monk felt the fervour of these words, for he 
gravely told us that he was quite sure that Deut. xviii. 
15, referred to Christ, and that he and his brethren 
must be labouring under a great mistake, in depend- 
ing more on their own works and asceticism than 
on God's love and mercy, as revealed in the Bible. 

We next visited the Falasha village Antonius, On 
our way we took a stroll through an extensive garden, 
which sheltered, in venerable groves and tangled 
shrubberies, the ruins of a well-built ancient residence. 
Close to the walls of this decaying abode of royalty, 
stands a cupola-shaped chamber, the monument of 
Fasilidas beloved war horse. When Cytilus^ the 




tone of priests, monks and dehleralis, whetlior 

; liorse, which had a monument in a country 

martyrs and coiiftssors lacked gravestones, 

) the chief saint in their calendar — a sarcasm which 

^ecclesiastics who heard it will never forgive. 

TFe did not linger long in tins charming retreat, 

! African princes once emulated the effcm 



21 QUOSqUAM. 

luxuries of Oriental despots, but hastened up to 
Quosquam, where, on the brow of a commanding hill, 
Fasilidas had reared another palace, on which civil war 
and misgovemment have since traced their desolating 
characters. Through a broad vestibule, flanked on 
each side by a lofty solid tower, we entered a spacious 
hall built of stone, and ornamented with coloured 
porcelain tiles. Smaller chambers are attached to its 
sides, but their imsightly condition did not invite 
minute inspection. A strong wooden portal con- 
ducted us firom the castle into a famous church, built 
by the pious Iteghe Montouah^ the friend of Bruce. 
This sacred edifice is of very superior construction, 
and lies in the sombre shade of a jimiper plantation. 
The most extravagant expenditure seems to have 
been unsparingly lavished on its interior. The par- 
tition walls of the several corridors are one mass of 
bright colours and rich gilding. The saints too, 
which are here well represented, besides the usual 
quantity of paint, have fanciful arabesque ornaments 
of silver encrusted in their dress, and coronets of 
pure gold around their enormous heads. The pious 
princess, not content with the costly structure, also 
munificently provided for the support of a good staff 
of officiating ecclesiastics. By some mistake, however, 
the whole patronage of her riclJy endowed livings 
became vested in a few powerful families; and these in- 
variably, to the prejudice of the less influential priests, 
recruit every vacancy in the clerical garrison from the 
members of their own immediate circle. The church. 



IMPLICIT CONFIDENCE. 






if is true, does not suffer from tbis abuse of con- 
fidence, for the poor confessor, as well us the wealthy 
dignitary, are alike unworthy of their vocation, and 
the church is to both a mere stepping-stone to a life 
of comparative indolence. 

b The cool lawns of Quosquam might have tempted 
ns to protract our stay during the sultry heat of the 
day, but, as we had still to pay oui- friends at Antonim 
visit, we again vaulted into our saddles, and in 
lothcr half-hour were midway up a steep wooded 
luntain ridge, on which hangs, securely nestled, the 
liet Falasha village. Seating ourselves on a frag- 
ment of dislodged rock, beneath an artificial terrace, 
on which the never-absent tainted hut for the impure 
was erected, we awaited the assembling of the people. 
It being Friday, when every one muet be at home to 
prepare for the Sabbath, groups of men and women, 
wrapped in their holiday attiro, soon collected on the 
uneven and stony space before us. As in other 
places, 80 also in this settlement, we plainly stated 
our design, and tlie motives which actuated us in 
our efforts. They unanimously declared, " We beUeve 
it I We believe it ! " Touched by the confidence they 
placed in our simple declaration, we affectionately 
and faithfully exposed their fatal error, in believing 
that H few legal observances and external rites were 
the worship due to God, or the sole object of the 
Law. The monument of Fasilidas' horse, discernible 
through the majestic trees and thickets, afforded an 
apt illustrntion, and, directing their dark and lustrous 
eyes towards it we said, " This memorial of o dead , 



212 THE SHADOW KING. 

animal, you will admit, looks grand and beautiful 
from without ; and yet, were you to remove its super- 
incumbent weight of stones and mortar, you would 
find within only a rotten caroass, or the mouldering 
remains of bones : so also may a man be quite clean 
ceremonially, and yet within be full of malice, vice, 
and every repulsive sin." We then explained to 
them the nature of sin and its demerit, and seriously 
urged them to transfer their faith from mechanical 
rites to the living God, and from the Law which con- 
demns, to the Gospel which saves the sinner. They 
all replied in a loud tone of voice, in which the clear 
sounds of the women could be distinctly discerned, 
"You tell us good words, and God hath evidently 
sent you to teach and direct us into the right path ! " 
We inquired whether any of them could read, and to 
our surprise there was not one in this crowded village 
who could spell a single word. Poor people, they 
live almost in Pagan ignorance, and die in Pagan 
hopelessness ! In going away I said, " You have 
now heard of a Saviour who died that all might 
eternally live, and whether you believe it or not, you 
will again hear of this matter ; but mind, it may not 
be from the lips of a messenger of mercy, but from 
the lips of Him who now seeks your salvation, and 
who, if you now reject His proffered mercy, will then 
pronounce your eternal doom." 

Whilst at Gondar we visited various personages of 
rank and dignity; amongst others Atzec Yoliannes, 
the Shadow King, and according to Abyssinian annals, 
the legitimate successor to the throne, and lineal 



J 



r UNCOMFORTABLE VESTBY. 213 

descendant of Solomon by tlic Queen of Shcba's son.* 
He was seated on an alga in a dirty little room, with 
a monk's skull-cnp on his bead, reading the Psalms. 
& asked rae many questions on geography, and 
ilike the majority of Abyssinian savans, did not 
lelieve that beyond Jerasalem the sun never shone, 
and that only serpents and other venomous reptiles 
occupied the untenanted land. His belief in the 
saving efficacy of a shaven crown, of fasts and 
penances, he carefully avoided to discuss ; as if 
conscious that the false system of belief in the Abys- 
sinian Church coidd not stand the test of Scripture. 
From the abode of royalty, myself and companion 
threaded our way through a maze of broken and 
unpaved lanes to the Church of Kudus Michael, to 
■BBpect a rare and handsome Ethiopic manuscript. 
le of the debleraks attached to the church, con- 
ducted us to a small room, a kind of vestry for the 
officiating ministers, whilst he went for the manu- 
script; but a few minutes in this adjunct to the 
ganctuary. inflicted on us such torments, that to the 
amusement of several priests, we hastily beat a 
xetreat. 

Y Having never witnessed a fidl Abyssinian service, 
■ repaired, on the feast of St. Anastasius, with some 
n the Ahoona'a servants, to the church which bears 
Hlat saint's name, to witness a grand celebratiwi. A 

B • I WM told that wltenever Ateee Yobannea visite King 
KheodoKM, tbe lutter stonilH bcfoii; Iiim, as nn acknowledgment 
Bf hifl title to a orowti, which ho could iiot defend. 
Kn ttiitiuoi [lonKiou from tbo royal treiuury. 



unp 



214 FICTUBESQUE SCENE. 

steep tortuous path^ bounded by a deep chasm on one 
side^ and beetling rocks on the other, brought us to a 
beautiful greensward, where, in the shade of a vene- 
rable grove, stood the sacred building. Around it, 
although close to the capital, there was no sign of 
human Ufe — ^not even a hut enlivened the gloom of a 
spot, where a hermit, or one disgusted and satiated 
with life's bustle and dissipation, might find the 
most picturesque retreat in which to speculate on the 
vanity of the past, and the hope that brightens the 
future. Before us, to the north, with their bold 
outlines clearly defined against a cloudless sky, lay 
in wild confusion the towering mountains of Woggera^ 
overtopped by the cloud-capped cliflfe of the hoary 
Semien; to the south-west spread the wide plains 
of Dembea, with its rich waving fields, numerous 
rivers and calm lake, bounded by the dark and 
distant mountains of Godjam^ where the blue Nile 
has its source, and the Galla country abuts ; whilst 
due west, and blending with the horizon's edge, 
extended to the very confines of the sandy desert, 
Walkeit and Armatgiohoy diversified by hills and 
dales, jagged rocks and black ravines, through which 
foaming rivers precipitate their noisy waters over 
every impediment of nature, till they reach the 
AtbarUy or are absorbed by the rich vegetation of the 
holla (lowland), or the thirsty sands of the burning 
desert. The beauty and picturesqueness of this 
magic scene had so fascinated my attention, that I 
quite forgot the object which had brought me there, 
till the deafening tom-tom of the negareet^ intermingled 



DEVOTIONLESS WORSHIPPERS. 216 

with the nasal chorus of a host of dehterdlis^ in vary- 
ing cadences, reverberated on my ear. This indication 
that the service had ahready begun, put a stop to our 
contemplation of this grand mountain scene, and in 
a most reverent mood we hastened to the uproarious 
sanctuary. A wooden gate in a circular wall brought 
us within an open irrassy space that formed the ceme- 
toy, «,d the .pot whe« '.dioimng to the church, 
me8 the Bethlehem in which the priests prepare the 
eucharistic bread. A crowd of men and women, as 
if in some place of amusement and dissipation, were 
spread in picturesque knots over the soft turf. The 
majority were busily plying their tongues, but I fear 
from the bursts of memment which now and then 
broke from one or the other of those animated groups, 
that their conversations had very httle to do either 
with religion or the service in honour of the saint. 
Not belonging to this impure class, who are justly 
excluded from the interior of the sacred edifice, we 
mounted a few steps, and then, through a partition 
occupied by the laity, stepped into a second com- 
partment concentric with the outer one, and there 
found ourselves at the porch of the enclosure which 
constitutes the sanctum sanctorum. Crowds of priests 
and debterahs thronged the whole of that corridor. 
The debterahs constitute the choir in all their 
churches; and their devotionless mien, as they 
chanted to the monotonous sound of the negareet 
quite excited my indignation. During the mad- 
dening noise created by the debteraJis^ the priests, 
robed in gaudy canonicals, were exerting to the 



216 A CBVECH DlflHITAmT. 

utmost thdr cracked voices in intoning the Litorg; 
and Psalms. At certain intorals, an ecdeaiastii 
clad in tus garish finery, and attended by an incensi 
waving boy-deacon, and a bearer of the Ethiopi 
GEospel, marched out of hia sanctum into the cenu 
tery to edify the godless and profane multitude b 
reading to them a portion of Scripture in an ni 
known tongue. A reverend gentleman near mi 
who WHS evidently a great Church dignitary, as b 
wore a huge turban, and had a very stupid unmeanin 
Ceicc, pointed his gaunt fingers towards the daube 
walls, and condescendingly inquired whether I knei 
St. Geoi^ and Miriam, the mother of God? 
bluntly rejoined, " Your St. Cieorge is a stolen fiabl 
and Miriam is not the mother of God, but of U 
human nature of Jesus Christ who came in the flesi 
and is now seated at Gcod's right hand ; and if yc 
want my opinion, I know that God has said, Tho 
shalt not bow down to any image I " He wi 
silent, and amid the laughter of the debterah, wli 
despise the haughty and ignorant priests, qiiitted tl 
side of the unbehever in picture-worship. My con 
panions wished me to stay and witness the admii 
istration of the Corban, or sacrament, but I ha 
already seen quite enough, and was therefore glad I 
get away from a service in which the Divine hi 
been utterly supplanted by the human, and thi 
which is ennobling and spiritual by all that is d 
grading and superstitious. 

The Corhan, or sacrifice to which I will hei 
allude, is taught by the Abyssinian Church in hi 



THE IMPIOUS MONK. 217 

Haimanot Mynteer, or mysteries of faith, to be a real 
sacrifice, though few of her erudite debteraJis and 
priests really admit the dogma. In the strange and 
incoherent summary of faith just spoken of, it is 
related, that once upon a time, a monk took it into his 
head to deny the material presence in the mass. The 
heterodoxy of the erring brother created a painful 
sensation, and the most profound among the com- 
munity, strove by argument and entreaty to win him 
back to the true doctrines of the Church. Strong in 
his conviction, the monk impiously averred that, in 
spite of all sophistry, learning and threats, he would 
not accept a belief which his senses contradicted. 
Such invincible and impious blasphemy, the merciful 
priestly conclave might have rewarded with the prison 
and the rack, had not two of his former companions 
charitably solicited the suspension of the holy fathers' 
judgment for another week. The request granted, 
the two monks at once retired to a sacred desert 
place to fast and pray for their misguided friend. Their 
intercessions, though fervent and sincere, brought no 
illuminating rays into the benighted soul of the 
unpenitent monk, and the two good men were already 
despairing of his life here, and happiness hereafter, 
when, on the day of their return from their vicarious 
pilgrimage, and while they were devoutly performing 
mass in the convent church, behold! the bread in 
the act of consecration suddenly changed into a 
beautiful infant, which, a radiant and resplendent 
angel, bearing the sword of Divine justice, sacrificed 
and carried up to heaven. Thus, their prayer was 



218 THE lord's suppeb. 

answered, and the heretical monk, who saw the 
miracle, became henceforth the most zealous and 
devout advocate of transubstantiation. 

This absurd story the unlettered and unthinking 
regard as an incontestable proof that the bread and 
wine, under the manipulation of the priest, are con- 
verted into flesh and blood ; but the erudite reject the 
legend, and, in their sentiments, approximate to the 
Lutheran doctrine of consubstantiation. 

Unable to perform any religious rite, without the 
savage accompaniment of tinkling keys and other 
discordant sounds, the sacrament of the mass, the 
most solemn service of the Church, is also per- 
formed amidst the most confused and distracting clan- 
gour. The liturgy and consecration service over, all, 
except the communicants, leave the place of worship. 
These now approach the vestibule of the holy of 
holies, where the oflBciating priests, enveloped in 
clouds of incense, are busily occupied in washing their 
hands.* The water, which this act sanctifies, must 
not be spilled on the ground, but, as a regenerating 
emblem, it is sprinkled on the bended heads and 
garments of the faithful, whilst the priest says, " If 
you think that 1 have now cleansed your garments 
and purified your bodies, and yet continue to cherish 
hatred and malice in your hearts, I tell you that the 
body of Christ will prove to be a burning fire to con- 
simie you, and His blood a bottomless sea to drown 
you ! '* After this exhortation, the tabot^ the substi- 

* This ceremony is copied from Pilate's example. Matt 
xxviL 24. 



WORTHY COMMUNICANTS. 219 

tute for the altar, is taken out of the holy of holies, 
and each communicant receives a small piece of 
wheaten bread and a spoonful of raisin wine. To 
prevent the desecration of the sacred elements, every 
one, before he quits the church, drinks a cup of 
water, and also abstains from expectorating that day. 
The disgraceful habits, engendered by a corrupt faith 
and depraved morals, have so polluted the mass of 
the natives, that very few dare partake of the sacra- 
ment. Most of the conununicants are children — 
deacons, who have not yet shaken off the dews of boy- 
hood — priests and monks, and here and there a few 
legally married couples; except these every one, 
whetJier governor or beggar, dejatch or debterah^ or 
whatever his rank may be, is spiritually impure, and 
unfit to come to the Corban. 

Fond of adopting Hebrew rites and ceremonies, the 
Abyssinians have also introduced into their Church a 
tabot or Jewish ark, instead of an altar or Lord's 
table. The apology for this deviation from the usage 
of all other Christian nations, they find in the beUef 
that their country possesses the true ark of the 
covenant. To justify this assertion, they gravely 
aver that Menilek, the son of Solomon, by the Queen 
of Sheba, on leaving Jerusalem, solicited from his 
royal parent a present that would for ever link him to 
the land of his birth. The wise King, deeply affected 
by this language of filial affection, requested him to 
name the gift he prized. Menilek, like a good and 
modest son, reverentially declined to do so, upon 
which the King, who knew the desire of his heart. 



220 THE TABOT. 

gave him the ark of the covenant. On the return 
of the prince to Axum^ in Tigrk^ the invaluable 
treasure was deposited in a temple called Debra Zion^ 
and there it has remained shut up from the gaze of 
the profane, and will so continue, till the advent of 
the great Theodoros, who is to restore it to its proper 
place in the future temple of Jerusalem. 

In imitation of this imaginary ark the Abys- 
sinians have a tahot^ and not an altar in their 
churches. The form, size, and even the wood to 
be used in its construction are minutely specified by 
the canons. Its length must be about two feet and 
a-half, its breadth one foot, and its depth four 
inches. These particulars having been strictly at- 
tended to, the smooth board is consigned to the 
hands of an artist, who carves a large cross in the 
centre, and twelve smaller around the border, as 
emblematic representations of Christ and His apostles. 

The tahot is now finished, but before it can be 
used it must be anointed and christened by the 
Aboona. At the baptism it generally receives the 
name of some venerated saint or guardian angel, and 
then this piece of wood, like a god, amidst the pros- 
trate ranks of a devout and adoring congregation, is 
deposited in the holy of holies of the new church. 



221 



CHAPTER XVI. 

The Feast of the Cross — Grand Illamination — Sharp Beproof 
— Open- Air Assembly — Military occupation of Gondar — 
Solemn Confession — Sadden Arrival of the King — Grand 
Breakfast — Execution of Traitors — Immorality of Gond/xr 
— Biography of Teda ffaimcmot — ^Trade of the Metro[iolis. 

During our stay at Gondar we witnessed the cele- 
bration of Mascal — a grand feast devoted to the 
discovery of the Holy Cross by the mother of Con- 
stantine. The ceremonies commenced early in the 
evening by a merry procession of boys and girb, who 
traversed the streets begging wood and fagots for 
the midnight bonfires. A numerous gay party, of 
both sexes, also waited on me, not, as they artfully 
hinted to solicit my contribution towards the illu- 
mination, but to assure me that in honour of my 
visit, they would encircle Kudus Gabriel with a l>clt of 
fire that should blaze up to the heaven and eclipse the 
very stars in the firmament. Such a flaming demon- 
stration in my favour, required a substantial acknow- 
ledgment in return, and to their delight, I emptied 
my whole stock of small money among them, which 
just amounted to ten pounds — not of gold, but of 
the Imperial currency — dirty black salt. As an 
expression of their gratitude they struck up an 



222 GRAND ILLUMINATION. 

Ethiopian Hallelujah chorus that shook the very walls 
of our dwelUng, and they would probably have 
favoured me with another grand performance, had 
I not urged them to collect more wood for the pro- 
mised illumination. An hom* past midnight the fes- 
tivities began. The debterahs^ who are the leaders 
in all religious solemnities, initiated the gaieties of 
the /He by open-air chants in praise of the Cross. 
Their voices, which are a torture when heard in the 
church, were not devoid of harmony on the hills, in 
the perfect stillness of the night. Roused from their 
slumbers by the strains of the singers, the whole 
population quitted their lairs, and in pious fervour 
mingled their own execrable screams with the voices 
of the trained choristers of the capital. Curious to 
witness the firing of the piles, I also left my couch 
of untanned hide and sallied forth to join the noc- 
turnal assemblage. At the gate, a dazzling glare of 
torches and the shouts of a wild and tumultuous 
mob, drove me back to my domicile. The crowd, 
which could not have numbered less than four hun- 
dred persons, out of respect to the Aboona, inflicted 
on me, during an interminable half-hour, all the 
agonies of their abominable music. I might, it is true, 
have put the wall of the archiepiscopal palace between 
myself and these genuine Ethiopian serenaders, but 
as such an act would have been esteemed an unpardon- 
able sin against the Cross, I was forced to submit, as 
gracefully as my ears permitted, to this hideous din. 
From the Aboona's residence the crowd rushed up the 
acclivities on which the beacons had been reared, and 



IMPORTANT QUESTIONS. 223 

at a given signal over the heights in the rear of 
Kudus Gabriel^ the torches were thrust into the 
heaps of wood, and, amidst the clashing of swords, 
the beating of negareeta^ and the crackling of the 
flames, the auspicious event of the finding of the 
Masccd was appropriately proclaimed. 

On the same day two of my companions returned 
from a visit to the royal camp, eight hours distant from 
GondaTj whither I had been prevented from accom- 
panying them. The King, as ever, was very kind, and 
to their inquiries as to the locality where we might 
settle in case we established a Mission, promptly 
replied, " On the spot you deem most eligible." On 
the eve of the Masccd the European visitors were 
with others invited to the royal tent. His Majesty 
designedly allowed the conversation to turn on reli- 
gious topics. Among the questions suggested, the 
inquiry arose whether it was right or wrong to fast. 
To tins the missionaries replied that fasting became 
sinful if regarded as a meritorious and justifjdng 
work, because it then supplanted the atoning blood 
and imputed righteousness of the Redeemer. " True," 
rejoined the King, and then, turning to some of the 
higher ecclesiastics, among whom was the Etcheque, 
the second dignitary in the Church, he asked them 
whether a certain story about Peter was contained in 
the New Testament. Upon receiving an afl&rmative 
reply, he turned to Messrs. Bronkhorst and Plad, and 
inquired whether the priests were correct. My friends, 
unwilling as they were to distress the ecclesiastics, 
dared not refuse to satisfy the royal interrogator. His 




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.C':r..z-x, pt.iz:.:!! :ij tile G»>?p:-I ror irs meanimr, and to 



MIIJTABV OCCUPATION OF GONDAR. 



our for its value ; and that tbus when Christ 

me, men were prepared for His appearance, and 

'looking for His coming. For more than an hour we 

nnintfmiptedly expounded to them the great doctrine 

of Divine revelation, from the Fall to the Cross — 

firom the Curse to the Redemption. All were deeply 

impressed with what they heard, but particularly 

some young men, who, in imploring accents entreated 

t» to remain in Abyssinia, and teach them to know 

the Saviour. More thnn a hundred and fifty persons 

accompauicd us a short distance, and we were already 

br down the steep declivity, when from many a torn 

^bmd jagged cli£r, the echoes rung with their grateful 

^Blessings. 

^ On reaching home we found tlie gates closed, 
and guarded by a file of soldiers who refused us 
■dmittance. On inquiry, we learned that the King 
md been informed that fire-arms were concealed in 
poitdar, which his disaffected subjects sold to the 
[ebcls, and that this had induced him to invest the 
^pital, and every house and chiu-ch, with a strong 
f force. Not feeling diaposcd to lodge in the 
«t, we applied to the Cantiba, or military governor 
3 metropolis, who immediately gave orders that 
! and our servants should have free ingress and 
■ess to our house, on condition that nothing, not 
1 a salt, sboiitd be removed from the premises. 
Nest moniing one of the Ji-dferaAg Srota the village 
th/afsAa called ou us for a Bible. He spoke most 
riously, and like an anxious enquirer said in trem- 
loua nervousness, as if his soul was agitated to its i 



220 ARRIVAL OF THE KING. 

utmost depth, " Before your arrival here no one to 
that we were in the wrong ; we had our Oreed \ 
tateuch) and David, we obsen'ed the Sabbath, 
tlie priests their tithes, and so thought all was 
that the Christians with their idols, Miriam an( 
saints, could have a superior, more scriptural, 
more spiritual faith, was quite out of the quei 
but now God hath sent you to teach us, and I 
we shall all profit by your instructions." 

To the surprise and terror of all Gondar^ 
Majesty, quite unexpectedly, and long before 
inhabitants were astir, arrived in the capital, 
formably to Abyssinian etiquette, we went tx 
palace, to attend, if I may so term it, the royal 1 

The avenues leading to the Gimp^ although il 
still early, were already occupied by a vast conct 
of all professions except the dcbterahs^ who are ki 
to chcTisli no particularly loyal feeling to the tl 
of Thcodoros. Beggars of course abounded ii: 
throng, and from the strong expressions they 
ployed, it was evident that their matitudinal lcv\ 
not been very successful. It required great ei 
and tact to steer through the ranks of these p 
extortioners who assailed one from all sides, an 
the name of every saint in the calendar soli 
charity. Without regard to the whining blessin] 
angry curses of these lazy vagabonds, we pushes 
and reached in safety the Imperial residence, 
ante-rooms leading to the audience-chamber, v 
since the days of FasU'uIas had evidently not 
the luxury of a broom, were tolerably well filled 



^^^■H CIBANO BEEAKFA8T. 227 

fcoBt of perspiring courtiers. Tbe poor men, clad io 
their suiTocating silken and damask shirts, looked so 
woe-begone and ill-at-ease that, instead of the noble 
and brave of the land, they might have been mistaken 
for criminals, condemned in derision of some dark 
crime to expiate their faults in garbs of the oppo- 
site hue. 

Their semi-nude retainers sweltering in an ex- 
uberance of musked grease, if they could have ap- 
preciated their bliss, uiigbt well have blessed the 
humble lot which exempted them from the excru- 
ciating torments of an aristocratic Kamecs. We had 
not to wait long before we were requested to enter 
the grand hall. The King, who was reclining ou a 
large antique four-footed bedstead overhung with rich 
silks and costly brocade, sat up at our approach, 
and most cordially saluted us. Hospitality towards 
straugers being an Abyssinian virtue, though in 
general very sparingly practised, His Majesty ordered 
us a substantial morning rcpiisC. A band of Gallae 
who were standing like bronze statues close to the 
^jEolls, instantly vanished to execute the royal behest, 
^^hlike fashionable banquets, nn Ethiopian eutertain- 
^Keot neither involves much exi«nse, nor requires 
much labour or skill. A large wicker basket full of 
leathery tcff cakes, a sooty saucepan, consecrated 
^^fi a sliam currie suuce of dubious colour and more 
^Htibiuus ingredients, and an abundance of gory joints 
^Btit reeking from the fresh-slaughtered animal, con- 
stitute the delicacies that grace both the board of 
the King, and the festive revel of the peasant, On 
^ 42 



228 DRIPPING JOINTS. 

the present occasion, in deference to our corrupt 
taste, some savoury pieces of meat were held over 
the fire, not to be regularly broiled, but merely 
to impart to them a flavour of the smoking em« 
bers. The slaves who, in lieu of dishes, performed 
that useful offiee, looked so formidable as they swung 
the dripping joints over our heads, that, during the 
whole of our repast, I could only think of the sword 
of Damocles. Courtesy necessarily required that we 
should do justice to the royal hospitality, and although 
our palate strongly protested against the task imposed, 
we were obliged to masticate the hard flesh and to 
gulp down the choking peppery sauce, with apparent 
relish. His Majesty asked us many questions about 
the Falashcta, and appeared quite pleased to hear that 
they were anxious for the Word of God, and willing 
to be instructed. He expressed some anxiety to have 
a good number of Europeans^ particularly artisans, 
to instruct his people. I thought this a favourable 
opportunity for reminding him that in Europe we 
had many bad characters, and that I cherished the 
hope that those who came to Abyssinia would intro- 
duce oiu" virtues and not our vices. " May God 
realize your good wish," was the response. 

Business of importance induced me the following 
morning to repair again to the palace. The King 
was just about to leave Gondar, and that too, as I 
understood from the ominous and suppressed whispers 
of the people, in no very good temper. This change 
in his deportment from that of the previous day, was 
attributed to the discovery of several muskets and 



EXECUTION OF TRAITORS. 229 

other property, belonging to a rebel chief. Two 
monks, a debterah and a priest charged with secreting 
them, were, without trial and without shrift, con- 
demned to immediate death. The furious monarch, 
to strike terror into the hearts of his rebelUous sub- 
jects, ordered the criminals to have their hands and 
feet cut off; and so stem were his commands, that 
not even a drop of water was allowed them in their 
feverish death-struggle. I had no incUnation to 
intrude on the despot whflehe was in such a mood, but 
went to Mr. Bell, with whom I spent a pleasant half- 
hour. On parting, he told me that our next meeting 
would be either in Tiffre or London^ to which latter 
place he was expecting to accompany an Abyssinian 
embassy^ The poor man little dreamed that Death 
had already marked him for his own, and that this 
bright hope of revisiting his native land, after a volun- 
tary exile of more than twenty years, was never to be 
realized. Requieacat in pace. 

The population of Gondar^ which may be estimated 
at aboift six thousand souls, consists almost ex- 
clusively of priests, merchants, and a few artisans. 
The general character of the inhabitants, notwith- 
standing a loud reUgious profession, is not in par- 
ticular repute; and the grossest offence committed by 
a resident in the metropolis is palliated by the sar- 
castic remark, "Oh, he lives at Gonda/r!' This low state 
of morality in a place where one at least out of every 
ten males is an ecclesiastic, does not sound very 
creditable te the turbaned reverends, or the creed 
they profess. It is tree there is no lack of churches 



THE DEADTIFL'L CAPTIVE. 231 | 

Menilck, wus bora in Shoa about the middle of the 1 3th | 
century. On the day of his mother's marriage the un- 
believing Gnlltis (the legend says) made an irruption 1 
into the province, and, by some mishap, the pious lady | 
fell into the power of the invaders, who made her a | 
.captive. The transcendent loveliness of the Christian | 
itarned the whole army distraught, and the stoutest i 
warrior strove more sedulously to win a smile from 
the beautiful captive than trophies from the enemy. 
King Matolama, the comreiander of the invading 
;forces, on hearing that a poor slave had bewitched i 
the hearts and paralysed the arms of all his brave ' 
■.troops, ordered her to be conducted into his presence, 
..then and there to receive the punishment due to her 
art. The hapless captive went forth, enshrouded iu 

' striped »kama, to exchange a sorrowful life for a ] 
martyr's bliss. Her seductive charms were no sooner 
unveiled to the admiring gaze of the sovereign, than 
he saw that her magic lay in the lustre of a rich eye, 
and the grace of a faultless form. Susceptible of i 
beauty, like every other prince, Matolama fell desije- 
tately in love with his Amhara captive. His suit, 
though ardent and sincere, was repelled with meekness 
jid dignity. Skilled in the knowledge of the female 
icart, tlie prince abstained from all further impor- | 
tunity, and assiduously betook himself to giiin by kind- 
ness a love which he could not command by force. | 
Gentle treatment from a king, few female hearts, the -j 
(^onicler adds, caa resist, an<f to this nile the amiable 
Amhara foriued no exception. Her distress had al- J 
ready lasted many a month, but whether she was sub-J 



232 MIRACULOUS ESCAPE. 

diied by grief or won by tender solicitation, it is not 
stated, nor is the omission of great importance; 
suffice it for us to know that she became reconciled to 
her fate, and was prepared to resign herself to idolatry 
and the enamoured Matolama. 

The auspicious day at length approached. People at 
a very early hour began to flock into the royal city to 
witness the happy nuptials of their beloved king and 
his beauteous Christiaq captive. The idol-temple in 
which the ceremony was to be performed, was adorned 
with garlands and flowers, culled from the remotest 
forests and glens of the empire. There was dancing and 
singing in every street, and in every house, except in 
the poor bride's chamber. Awakened from her stupor 
of sorrow, the poor helpless captive shed bitter tears of 
penitential contrition, at the thought of her approach- 
ing infidelity to a youthful spouse and the paternal 
creed. In her misery and distraction she called on 
Mary and all the other great saints her. memory could 
recall, but no help came, no succouring hand was 
extended towards her. The approach of the nuptial 
hour, so impatiently anticipated by her lover, was 
indicated to herself by the shadow of her own wan 
figure ; and, before she could make her choice be- 
tween an idolatrous husband or a violent death, she 
was lifted on the shoulders of happy female slaves, 
and borne in great pomp to the heathen temple. 
Priests arrayed in costly robes at once commenced the 
ceremony, when suddenly the roof of the edifice burst 
open, and an angel, gorgeously arrayed, appeju-ed 
in the midst of the terror-stricken crowd, and, lifting 



THE PUTURE SAINT. 



233 



the trembling princess on his outspread wings, lie 
safely oarried her to the land of her birth and the 
home of her desolate lord. 

Some time after this happy reunion the pious couple 
were blessed with a son. The infant who was destined 
to swell the ranks of the celestial nobihty, came into 
the world accompanied by extmordiaary signs and pro- 
digies. A glorious light rested for several days over the 
jKirental house. At the baptism of the child, the priest 
was so dazzled by its supernatural beauty, that, lost 
in" admiration, he dropped the babe, and might have 
killed it, had not an invisible hand kept it suspended 
above the hard floor. These and many similar signs 
were, as the wise men of those days pointed out, sure 
indications of the babe's glorious future career. The 
infant, as predicted, grew up to be a pious, clever, and 
faultless 'youth. His fame as a preacher very soon 

iread far and wide, and high and low came from the 
lotest provinces to sit at the feet of the wonderful 
evangelist. Among the ladies of Ethiopia, his hand- 
some person and unequalled talent excited quite a 
spirit of rivalry ; but, despite their deep sighs and 
heart-melting glances, he most relentlessly persevered 
in obstinate celibacy. His mother now came to the oid 
of a despairing wealthy maiden, and, in an aftectionate 
and supplicaUwy tone, she entreated him, by taking 
to himself a pious wife, to soothe her own declining 
with the love and attentions of a good daughter. 

lot willing to disobey a command of the decalogue, 
devout youth sought refuge from the snare by 
:h he was beset in a convent at Di-iira Danio, in 



^^re 



234 CHRISTIAN CHABITT. 

Txgri, where he solemnly assumed the skull-cap of the 
monk. The mortifications, self-imposed penances, 
and incredibly long fasts which followed his initiation 
into the monastic broth^hood, are faithfully recorded 
in the annals of the Church for the edification of the 
faithfuL 

Wearied at length with this mode of life, Teda 
Haimanot took the monk^s staff, and set out cm 
a persons pilgrimage to the tomb of the Saviour. 
Many unfortunate adventures happened to him among 
the unbelieving Moslems, but he resignedly submitted 
to every ill-treatment which men and fiends could 
inflict upon him. Having prayed at the holy sepulchre, 
he retraced his steps to Egypt, where the Copt Pa- 
triarch (H'dained him priest. He now intended to 
devote himself to the conversion of the f(^owers of the 
false prophet, but the Patriarch, who did not wish to 
share the martyrdom for which the young priest so 
ardently longed, requested him to spend his zeal on a 
people more worthy of the Gospel than the Christian- 
hating Arabs. Obedience to a superior being a virtue 
he always practised, he at once wrapped around his 
emaciated frame his old skin -cloak, and proceeded to 
the Galla country, where his mother had been kept 
prisoner. The idea of rewarding good for evil was 
so novel to these idolaters, that, in thronging multi- 
tudes, they repaired to the spot where the reputed 
son of the lady who had so miraculously escaped from 
the power of their late king was about to preach. 
His zealous efforts were most signally blessed in the 
conversion of hundreds of thousands who had never 



MALICE OF THE EVIL ONE. 235 

before heard the name of Christ The king and most 
of his subjects, who in a very short time had thrown 
their idols to the bats and moles, were anxious that 
the good man should settle down amongst them : 
but a desire to reform certain abuses at Debra Damo 
forbade him to accept the grateful invitation. 

The fame pf the great adhievements of Aboona Tecla 
Haimanot had by this time spread through the length 
and breadth of the land, and wherever he came, old 
and young, sick and whole, prostrated themselves in 
the dust before his feet, and implored his benediction. 
At Debra Damo the brotherhood did not much sym- 
pathize in the general jubilee that greeted the austere 
monk. The monastery there stands on the summit of 
a perpendicular rock, and, being quite inaccessible, no 
visitor can reach it unless drawn up by a rope. The 
Evil One, probably, I presume, jealous of his own, did 
not like the ascetic to tamper with the merry fellows 
on the rock, and, to eflTect his wicked purpose, he 
maliciously cut the frail support when Teda Haimanot 
was in mid-air, and probably he would have been 
dashed to pieces in a ravine below, had not immedi- 
ately six wings unfuried themselves under his garb 
and borne him aloft. Tn commemoration of this 
miraculous volant power, the saint is represented, in 
most of the churches dedicated to him, as nearly 
smothered in a profusion of gorgeous plumage. 

The passion for self-discipline and maceration in 
which he had indulged in early life, became more 
intense as he advanced in years. Tenantlcss wastes 
and malarious jungles had lost their attractions, nor 



236 THE PRECIOUS RELIC. 

was it quite en regie that a man, who aspired 
beatification, should visit spots that were the r 
of inferior mortals. In Uiis perplexity he hit 
an original idea of mortifying the flesh. There 
Shoa a small lake, which the saint in his pei 
nations had often passed. To these waters he 
repaired. The good people, who followed him 
all parts to hear his discourses and to obtain 
blessing, entreated him not to expose his precious 
son to the alligators and other aquatic monsters ; 
the holy man, who knew that all his exploits foj 
glory of the church had not yet been accompli^ 
fearlessly stepped into the deep. Seven succe 
years he continued in the water, and probabl; 
would have expired on his liquid couch, had not 
of his legs dropped off. The clamour for this vak 
relic created quite a dissension in the church, 
the monarch judiciously put a stop to the fierce 
betweeu the rival claimants, by ordering it tc 
kept as a Palladium in the royal metropohs. ' 
sacred talisman possesses more wonderful sani 
virtues than all the druijs in the universe. Patii 
from every province of the country, visit the sli 
to make votive offerings and to quaff the heji 
waters in which the saint's leg is weekly was 
Many of the sufferers arc of course disappointed 
their hope of a cure ; but then the fault is not in 
relic, but in their own want of faith. 

These and similar legends have literally supplai 
the Gospel of Christ, and introduced througl 
Abyssinia a mythology very little at variance with 



^^^^H INDULGEISCES. 237 

1^016117 of Pagans, whom the Abyssiuiatia most 
devoutly hate and persecute. Faith io Clirist is 
Tirtually a Hubordiimte article in their creed, nor 
would a doctrine so free, pure, and salutary suit the 
rapacious cupidity of the mercenary priests. The 
Vii^n, St. Michael, Teda Ilamanol, Ahoo, and a 
legion of other notabilities, are the gods and deini> 
gods they laud, and the shriaes on which the liberal 
offerings of credulous superstition are deposited. 
Their everlasting cry in church and out of church is, 
" Give ! give ! " This sordiJ craving for the pos- 
session of temporal things without labour, is the chief 
motive that induces many to adopt the priestly 
vocation, and is also the cliief study of the priest's 
whole life, The vast preponderance of conscientious 
over reckless sinners, has given rise to an equally 
proportionate demand for absolution. To meet the 
requirements of these sensitive scoundrels, the priests 
have been compelled to analyse every imaginable 
human frailty, in order to determine its relative 
sinfulness ; and now the most consummate debauchee 
Deeds only to disburse a sufBcient largesse to bis con- 

ior, and he can fearlessly pursue his depraved tastes. 

The merchants of Gomlar, next to the clergy and 
aristocracy, form the most wealthy and iniluential 
body in the land. Their trade is very considerable. 
The exports from the capital to Massowak and Ma- 
tamvm, realize per annum about sixty thousand Maria 
Theresa dollars ; but if the roads were better and 
the political state of the country more satisfactory, 
this sum might easily be trebled. Caravans for j 



Deec 



2 88 TRADE. 

Massowah start about October, and return again in 
May, before the rainy season sets in, and the trade 
with Matamma is restricted to the same period. The 
imports for home consumption and the southern Galla 
marts, comprise a variety of articles, but the staple 
commodities are white,, blue,, and red calicoes, coarse 
musKns, chintz, cotton velvets^ common cutlery, glass 
beads, and Indian spices. Shops there are none at 
Gondar^ nor would it be possible for the merchant to 
expose his goods for pubUc inspection, in a place fre- 
quently subject to the depredations of rival rebel chiefs. 
The Ulterior and most secluded recess in the house 
is used as a shop ; and there, only the privileged pur- 
chaser, and that as a particular favour, can gain admit- 
tance. Less distinguished persons, if they want a Uttle 
spice or a few yards of muslin, must go to the market 
on Saturday^ or apply to a broker, as no regular Aryflrrf 
will attend to their orders. A small portion of the 
goods imported are purchased by the great chiefs, 
the King, and the stall-keepers at the different 
markets, but the rest is sent to Godjamy where the 
Gallas from the south come to exchange their gold, 
civet, ivory and coffee, for the produce of India, and 
the manufactures of England and Germany. The 
profits, I have been assured, are enormous ; and if 
the spirit of enterprise were commensurate with the 
resoiu*ccs of the country, and the industry of the 
people with the undeveloped treasures that lie hidden 
in its rich soil and valuable mines, Abyssinia might, 
ere long, despite many natural obstacles, have a 
flourishing trade and a considerable increase of wealth. 



239 



CHAPTER XVII. 

Departure from Oimda/r — Bivouac in the Field — Morning in 
the Tropics — ^A Sabhath Congr^ation — ^An Epicure's Eepast 
— The Youthful Students — A pert Woman — Benighted in 
the Jungle — ^A new Version of Man's Creation — Interview 
with the FaUtsJut High-Priest-^Affecting Prayer — Appalling 
Passage— The Domain of the Abaona — Magic Powers. 

We had now been nineteen days at Gondar^ and 
not thinking it advisable to protract our stay, we set 
out again on our missionary journey. Our route 
was west-south-west across the hills which, like 
Cyclopean embattlements, encompass Gondar. At 
Assaso, a suburb, an hour's distance from the metro- 
polis, there are still some gardens and a church which 
remind the vain Abyssinian of the superiority of the 
Franks, who saved Ethiopia from the yoke of Islam- 
ism, but injudiciously endeavoured to impose on her 
the no less detested manacles of Popery. We here 
re-arranged our books, which pressed heavily on the 
saddleless backs of our mules, and then through a 
steep and narrow defile pushed on to Maneger 
Gahfiel^ a hamlet hidden in a forest of acacias, 
wanza, worka, and other tropical trees and plants. 
We had some difficulty in extricating our feet from 
the rank weeds and tangled parasites, which every- 



240 BIVOUAC IN THE FIELDS. 

where baiTed our onward progress. Bruise 
bleeding, we reached the Shum's hut, and tl 
a field of pumpkins, we cleared a small sp 
our tent. After a supper of excellent mil 
an abundance of vegetables, a luxury we h 
enjoyed for many weeks^ we retired to resi 
reclining on soft grass and aromatic herbs, si 
defiance of mosquitoes and hyenas> quite as & 
in the African wilderness as we could have d 
the most luxurious chamber in the heart of c 
Europe. 

With the first streaks of day we were 
morning devotions; we then drank a cup of 
coffee (the luxury of sugar being unkno 
Abyssinia), and thus strengthened and refrea 
body and spirit, we started again on unknoT 
unbeaten tracks. Our score of sei-vants were 
expeditious as ourselves. A large pot of pe 
pumpkins was still on the fire, and till th 
devoured they moved about as if their feel 
paralyzed and their hands palsied. Had w( 
pressed for time, we should have ordered th 
stow their repast into a skin, and eat it on the 
but as we had to visit a Falasha village in the 
bourhood, it would have been wanton cruelty \ 
them away from the bubbling and seething pot 

Tliere is souicthing cheering and inexpressibl 
sant in a tropical morning on the highlands of 
sinia, more particularly so when, as in ouj 
gratitude swells the breast, and hallowed visions 
the mind. Isolation mid loneliness are then c 



THE PRIEST OF GABRIEL. 241 

foi^tten, and one hurries, without any sensation of 
Tatigue, to the places mapped out for the day's toil. 
rhe balmy air, and the lovely landscapes which, as in 
a panorama, float in rapid succession before the 
enraptured sight, preclude any desire for rest, until 
Doon approaches, and a meridian sun hushes every 
breath, and drives man and beast to seek shelter 
from its fiery blaze. 

The Falasha village, Gabriel, towards which our 
steps were bent, was quite invisible, and we almost 
doubted whether we. were pursuing the right path, 
v?hen at length we perceived groups of dark figures, 
veiled in clean white shamaa^ seated on the brow 
of a hill. A considerable stir was noticeable among 
these groups, and as if they were anticipating some 
extraordinary visitors, every eye rested on us in wonder- 
ing interest. The usual salutations having been inter- 
changed, we inquired for their priest, and though the 
people thought that he would not leave the meaquid 
on the Sabbath, to our satisfaction he soon hastened 
to the green sward on which we had taken our seat, 
escorted by scores of men, women, and children. 
The poor man, whose emaciated figure, cadaverous 
countenance, and sunken eyes, indicated severe casti- 
gations and self-inflicted sufferings, gazed in astonish- 
ment at us, as we told him we had come to announce 
tidings calculated to give peace to the troubled heart, 
and light, and hope, and joy to the gloom of the despair- 
ing soul. " Your words are good," he said, and then, 
as if anxious to cheer the desolation of the present by 
a retrospect of the fond past, he dilated on the miracu- 

R 



242 AN ATTENTIVE AUDIENCE. 

lous history of Israel, their migration to Egypt, their 
subsequent exodus, their remarkable preservation, and 
the numerous Divine interpositions in their behalf; 
but suddenly remembering that exile and dispersion 
must be the consequence of sin and apostasy, he 
made an abrupt pause, and emphatically added, '' We 
shall yet be restored again/' We fully admitted the 
restoration of Israel, and pointed out the future glory 
of Jerusalem ; but temporal promises, we also re- 
minded them, could not satisfy the expectations of 
future bliss. To ensure this, we told them that each 
one of them must be convinced that he has trans- 
gressed God's law, broken His covenant, and deserved 
His curse; for unless he feels this, no message of 
mercy can pierce his hard heart, or make him sensible of 
his danger. When, however, his conscience is alarmed, 
and unexpiated guilt shrouds his future in gloom, 
then God's Word comes to his aid, and in its precious 
pages he will find Him in whom each type has its 
antitype, each ceremony its significance, and each 
prophecy its fulfilment ; thus he will learn that when 
all was ruined and lost, and the whole world heaved 
and throbbed with anguish and pain, infinite com- 
passion expiated finite guilt, and the human was 
redeemed by the Divine. These and other grand 
truths, which constitute the theme of revelation, 
formed the chief topics of our discourse, and from the 
audible groans and sighs, which involuntarily burst 
from the heart of many a one in that assembly of more 
than two hundred persons, I could see that our words 
fell, in part at least, on willing and impressible hearts. 



SHADT RETREAT. 243 

We gave them a Bible, in which we marked various 
passages, such as Deut. xviii., Psalm li., Isaiah liii., 
for their prayerful study and consideration. 

And now we are off again ; and along upland glades, 
murmuring brooks, and shady groves, where an orni- 
thologist might in a short time have made a splendid 
collection, we hasten on to another Falasha settlement. 
Our long discourse, coupled with a ride of several 
hours, without food, had, however, exhausted our 
strength, and as it was now one o'clock, and a pic- 
turesquely-situated hamlet gleamed through the cool 
Arcadian shades, we halted, and on bread and clotted 
milk, washed down by draughts of excellent water 
fresh from a sparkling fountain, made a breakfast an 
epicure might have envied. Our inquiry for the 
Falasha village excited the curiosity of the peasants, 
and several volunteered to be our guides. Our 
servants being unacquainted with the road, we 
willingly accepted this unsolicited service, and across 
shady vales and rich alluvial fields, where a few half- 
naked ploughmen, and their no less scantily clothed 
wives and daughters were busily engaged, rode up to 
bmaneey a village embowered in the refreshing gloom 
of many a gnarled and lofty tree. It was now about 
four p.m., and as the people were asleep, and the 
priests in the mesquid, a stillness and silence 
that was quite oppressive pervaded the lonely settle- 
ment. Our guides loudly called several persons by 
name, but their Sabbath siesta was so soimd and 
free from care, that it required the greatest exertions 
of their lungs to rouse the heavy slumberers. At last 

R 2 



244 THE SLEEPERS EOUSED. 

one, and then another, and then a third, and so on, 
like apparitions conjured up by the wand of a magi- 
cian, appeared at their doors wrapped in their white 
shroud-like shamasy and stared with a bewildered 
gaze on the disturbers of their Sabbath dreams. 
Not being allowed to enter their huts (a most salutary 
law in Abyssinia, where swarms of all kinds of moving 
and creeping things share the abode with their human 
inmates), we summoned those whom we had roused to 
join us under the trees. They readily complied, and to 
this attentive assembly of about ten adults and a 
monk-priest, we proclaimed Christ and Him crucified. 
The monk, who had listened with interest and un- 
divided attention, thought himself called upon to 
make some remark, but as he knew not what to say, 
he pointed at me, and with an incredulous expression 
observed, " I love you, for you are holy.". I told him 
that he was mistaken, and if he read the Bible he 
would find on the very first page of inspiration that 
man was fallen and corrupt, and could only be sancti- 
fied by the power of the Spirit, and saved by the 
interposition of the Redeemer. He became very 
serious, and promised to call on us the next 
morning. 

The violet and purple tints in which hill and grove 
began now to glow, reminded us that the sun was 
rapidly descending towards the horizon ; and as we 
had still another Falasha village to visit, we bade our 
friends farewell, and proceeded to Shelloh. Our time 
being limited, we picketed our mules in the grass, and, 
contrary to Falasha prejudices, went straight to the 



INCOMPREHBNSIBLE TRUTHS. 245 

mesquid^ where, in a court adjoining, a number of 
young men were engaged in reading the Scriptures 
in the Eihiopic tongue. We joined these devout 
students, and were soon absorbed in an earnest dis- 
cussion ©n the eternal topic of ceremonial observances. 
We easily disposed of their queries by telling them, 
that the very laws on which they placed their hope 
were proofs of their fall and ruin ; for if man had 
not sinned, the intercourse between the Creator and 
creature would never have been interrupted, but, as 
the reverse was the case, the impure and polluted 
could no longer have communion with the holy and 
pure, and thus he had received a law which was at 
once to remind him that he was polluted, and so 
required to be purified — that he was a transgressor, 
and must have an expiatory sacrifice. They thought 
they possessed this, and we had some difficulty in 
convincing them that an irrational animal could not 
atone for a rational man. With much sincerity, they 
replied, " You may be right, but we cannot compre- 
hend how Christ as God could assume the nature of 
man." We asked them whether God did not reveal 
Himself in the time of the exodus, and subsequently 
in the history of Israel, in « human form, to which 
they readily assented. A young woman who could 
read a little (the only lettered female we met during 
our long tour), took an active part in the conversation, 
but, like a wayward, fretful child, she would one 
minute, with tears in her sparkling eyes, smite upon her 
heaving and swelling bosom, and in accents of despair 
bemoan her sins and unbelief; and the next, with a 



240 BENIGHTED IN THE JUNGLE. 

smile of incredulity, would deprecate her doubts in 
the veracity of the Falmha creed and the religion in 
which she had been tniined. We reproved her reck- 
less indifference, and, as if conscious that her beha- 
viour was not quite correct, she quickly replied, " I 
am anxious to know the truths contained in the 
liible, and, if it were possible, I would accompany 
you to Ahoo Maliaree,^^ Evening was now approach- 
ing, and we had to press on to reach the place, whither 
the servants had preceded us. 

Our path along the tortuous course of the river 
Limah was so densely wooded, that we were conipelled 
to (ise every precaution, especially as our hair for some 
time liad not undergone a clipping operation, to escape 
the fate of Absalom. The stars had begun to twinkle in 
the blue sky, the hyenas had attuned their piercing 
throats for the nocturnal revel, and still no village 
lire gleamed through the darkness, and no enlivening 
(littv from the vill.Mf^e vouths ran;? on the ear. We 
already thought that the wild jungle nnist be our 
lioMU! for the night, when, suddenly, shrill shouts of 
our people from the oppositi^ bank told us that we 
wore close to Dalankab, a Fala^ha settlement. We 
at once forded the river, and exclianged the high- 
pc aked and fatiguing saddle for the luxurious grass 
couch. This second day's journey impressed us deeply 
with the magnitude and saeredness of our work, and, 
wearied nnd way-worn as we wen*, 1 believe botli my- 
self and coin[)anion would gladly, had it biren possible, 
havi' forgotti-n all physical toils, and continued day 
and night our march through a land where hundreds 



^ 



IMPIOUS LEGEND. 247 

and thousands of struggUng, anguished, and despairing 
souls were longing for that message which can silence 
the upbraidings of conscience^ and shiver the chains of 
superstition. 

The next day being the Lord's-day, we were very 
reluctant to leave our quarters, but the poor peasants 
assured us that they could not entertain us another 
day. We offered to pay them for all that we re- 
quired, but as the worst Abyssinian would consider 
himself branded with a lasting stigma, did he sell 
bread and milk to a traveller, we had no alternative, 
but to move on a little further to the abode of Aboo 
Maharee and his monks. Before we set out, the 
Falashas of Balankab visited us. 

Like all their co-religionists, they were exceedingly 
ignorant and superstitious. We gave them a brief 
account of the history of man as recorded in Genesis, 
and the unhappy consequences entailed by the Fall. 
They thought that we had not the correct version of 
the story, and in a very solemn tone assured us, that 
their Bible stated that forty days before the great 
Architect of the universe had formed om* globe. He 
gave shape and form to Adam, and then left him at 
the threshold of the future paradise. Subsequently, 
when all had started into existence, the Creator saw a 
clod of clay, and, not knowing where to place it. He 
said to the angels, " What shall we do with this ? " 
Upon which the heavenly host responded, " Give him 
a soul," and thus man became a living being. We 
rebuked this perversion of the Scripture narrative, 
and then, in the presence of a number of attentive 



C£ is 



i4^ f ALASHA 

drsdazs. rdased to them tlie histoiy of the creation, 
cc God*s gocxiaess to man, of man's temptation and 
£iZ in^o cocnipckxi, of his inoeasant stm^le with sin 
Azd TzibcBei. And, finallT, of the expiation and pardon 
guih throogh the Uood and righteousness of a 
cier. They all thought ^jhat if they were to 
scsch kssons fineqoentlj, they should become 
irxxi Christians. 

I: t;^ past midday when we crossed the IHmah, 
azjd alocg a lonely heath skirted by hills and enli- 
T^Ded by herds ci grazing deer, leisurely pro- 
ctKded towards Z^ra ITorkee. Several of our 
ft:x^::aiiicaaces ci the morning accompanied us to 
w::ze5s ocr interview with their chief; and, not- 
w;:iscardini: that we endeavoured to direct their 
iiiiris ;o the subject of their own souls* eternal 
wciriT^v thv'v could not be diverted from the one 
<:: ::r:cs>:"Z t pic — the piety, abstinence, and learning 
vC :-.; ^'s: '^:;\n we were soon to see. 

1-: • :ly oor.verse be^:uiled the monotony of the short 
v:,;t::; V, av.d brought us sooner than we had antici- 
:v.:vvl :o Z-.: 'r^-icv. Being Christians, we were 
vVVcaI :o ktxp at a respectful distance from the 
..;v.,v* o; .^'.v .V.:t :rcv and his monks. This precau- 
::.^r. wc h^d no cause to regret ; on the contrary, we 
,';.;:v/,^vV. hon^ aiul everywhere else the superior taste 
v^f :hv^ .v.* :<";>, which forces the stranger to seek 
^lu'tvT in tho clean shady grove, and not in the foul 
:\r..: r\v\;:^j: hut. Whilst our companions went to 
Ar/,v^ur*vV our visit, we retired to one of the bowers 
\r.:o whivh luuun^ luul fashioned her own choice gifts. 



OEAND PROCESSION. 249 

Our intention to encounter in the arena of controversy, 
a high-priest so renowned for his lore and sanctity as 
Aboo Makaree* had been the subject of much specu- 
lation among the people, and it was generally reported 
that we would not venture to subject our creed to the 
chance of a public defeat. The report of our arrival 
at Balankab dissipated this illusion, and multitudes, 
almost simultaneously with ourselves, arrived at Zera 
Workee to witness the interview. Many of the 
parties, in defiling before our sylvan retreat, prognos- 
ticated, in good AmhariCy an unfavourable issue to 
our conference. The bustle and commotion, and the 
running to and fro, had continued for some time, 
when, suddenly, all stood still to behold the priestly 
procession emerging from the sacred enclosure. Aboo 
MahareCy the chief, swathed in a white shama, and 
holding a long bamboo staff, which in the distance 
looked Uke the crosier of a bishop, in dignified gravity 
moved in front of the heaving and undulating mass. 
There was something imposing and majestic in the 
appearance of the man, which one could scarcely 
behold without admiration and reverence. He is, I 
should think, about sixty years of age, of a noble and 
commanding figure, high and expressive forehead, me- 
lancholy restless eyes, and a countenance once no doubt 
mild and pleasing, but to which self-imposed penances 
and a repulsive practice have imparted an expression 
most strange and unearthly. Myself and companion 

♦ The Falashas have three liigh-priests : one in the province 
of Qimra, the other in ArmatgiohOy and the third, Aboo Mor- 
hareey in Dembec^ 



250 THE RUBICON. 

rose simultaneously as he and his followers in a well- 
ordered procession approached, a compliment which 
all gratefully acknowledged ; and then, as if by pre- 
vious arrangement, the multitude squatted down on 
the right and on the left of our retreat, leaving a 
broad space, as the rubicon, between the polluted 
people and the holy priests. The whole assembly, in 
perfect bewilderment and wonder, stared at us with a 
stem, grave, and unmoved gaze, as if they wanted to 
penetrate our very thoughts, and read in our very 
looks their hope or despair, joy or sorrow. There sat 
the old monk, macerated and wan, with the brown 
skin hanging in loose folds aroimd his wasted features, 
his eyes sunk and lustreless from long mortification, 
or bright and sparkling with the mad fire of fana- 
ticism. Close to this spectre-like apparition, as if 
seeking hope and comfort from mature age and sink- 
ing life, reclined the young novice, in whose placid 
and unnaturally smooth face the struggles of painful 
superstition, and perhaps the horrid consciousness that 
life, with its attractions and ties, had all been vainly 
bartered for a disordered dream and a wild feverish 
fancy, were too glaringly traceable. 

The other groups, among whom we noticed a good 
sprinkling of women, offered a strange contrast, by 
their healthy looks and smiling expressions, to these 
mutilated, dissatisfied, and unhappy priests. It is 
true, there was scarcely one in that assembly, who had 
any doubt that these ascetics were self-denying, good 
nu 11, who had renounced the world and all its fascina- 
tions for a life of devotion and piety; yet there 



APPECTING PRATER. 251 

seemed, as if by a general sympathy, some secret 
apprehension, some latent fear, that, after all, these 
proud and secluded anchorites might be in error, 
and, instead of the substance, grasp a mere shadow — 
instead of revealed truth, cling only to a mere 
self-created fancy. In conformity with Abyssinian 
etiquette, that a stranger should honour a chief with a 
present, I gave to Aboo Maharee a gilt-edged Bible 
and a white dress, which, as he could not accept it 
from my polluted hand, he requested me to put into 
the bag of one of the priests. He was exceedingly 
pleased with this token of my regard, and after many 
elaborate thanks all rose, and in a fervid and solemn 
strain prayed for omr safety, welfare, and happiness. 
It was a moving sight to see such a vast number of 
priests and people, all with uncovered heads and 
uplifted hands, supplicating the Divine blessing on 
the lonely and isolated missionaries. 

Several minutes elapsed before the effect of this 
touching scene subsided, and then, when all had 
again resumed their seats, we explained to them 
the object of our mission, and the motive by which 
we were actuated. Our words removed the fears 
which the malicious Amharas had excited, and we 
were unanimously soUcited to state the essential 
truths of our belief. The most intelligent candidly 
confessed that our words were the echo of Moses and 
David, and that they would be happy to see us fre- 
quently among them, in order to discuss these weighty 
and important topics. Aboo Maharee, who had 
hitherto remained silent, now turned to mc, and, in a 



252 EARLT LECTURE. 

faltering and tremulous voice, said, " Either you will 
become one of us, or I shall become one of you/' 
They very much wanted us to stay with them all 
night; but we had no inclination to intrude our 
hungry retinue on the hospitality of priests who must 
be their own cooks and bakers. Aboo Maharee would 
not, however, allow us to depart without some provi- 
sion, and, reluctant as we were, he compelled us to 
accept a basket of teff and a gumbo of dallah. The 
worthy chief, to convince us of his interest in our 
mission, ordered Debterah Negousee, a learned scribe, 
to conduct us to all the Jewish settlements. This 
amicable conference at Zera Workee produced the 
most favourable impression on the Falashas, and 
wherever we came, the report had already preceded 
us that we were the friends of Aboo Maharee. 

The cold, dull, and sullen morning had not yet 
been dissipated by the light of day, when several 
monks made their appearance. The object of their 
early visit was the universal desire to get copies of 
the Sacred Scriptures. We put them off till our 
arrival at Genda, whither they willingly promised to 
follow us. Our people being still in the huts, where 
they and our animals had been stowed, we had abund- 
ance of time to lectiu-e these priests on the false 
character with which they invested themselves, as 
well as the unholy and sinful practice in which they 
indulged. They were quite appalled at the passage of 
Scripture which placed them in a category with the 
Ammonite and Moabitc, and, to conceal their confu- 
sion, endeavoured to justify the continuance of sacri- 



THE DOMINION OF THE ABOONA. 253 

fices. By about nine a.m. we were on our way to 
Fenja. Here we met with several of the monkish 
fraternity. One of these, a haughty-looking fellow, 
to display his BibUcal knowledge, edified us by relat- 
ing the exploits of the twelve tribes, whose names, 
unfortunately for his learning, he could not recollect. 
We told him that a little child in our country knew 
all these, and many other more important incidents, 
much better. Not at all checked by the rebuke, his 
voluble tongue sought scope for its bluster in the glo- 
rious topic of the Aaronic priestly succession, and I 
do not know how long he might have rattled on had 
we not pointed him to Hosea iii. 4, 5. He thought 
this quite a sufficient reply, and wrapping his shama 
dose around his gaunt frame, he poUtely invited us to 
his settlement, and marched off. 

A further ride of two hours brought us to Genda^ the 
ecclesiastical domain of the Aboond. His Gi*ace had 
already communicated the probability of our visit to 
his ahum, and this official generously offered us a 
home and shelter during our stay. We accepted the 
proffered accommodation for our servants and animals, 
but as our skins had not yet become impervious to 
the sting and bite of all kinds of reptiles and insects, 
we preferred to brave the uncertain dangers of the 
open plain to the sure assault from the varied speci- 
mens of entomology to be found in a native shed. 

The town of Genda, with its district, which affords a 
considerable revenue to the Aboona in office, also 
receives within its bounds his remains when defunct. 
The church dedicated to this sacred object stands on a 



254 CBfBCH OP GENOA. 

wide open space, embowered by the sombre 
venerable trees. Like al! sacred edifices, it b co 
call}' shaped, and siirmountcd by an apex on wli 
glitters, in the briglit rays of the 8uu, tlie significi 
brazen emblem of tlie Christian faith. The succcssi 




Metropolitnns who He hnricd here, I btlicTC Bfl 
expended a salt on its repnir, and the walls woi 
long since Imve crumbled into niin, had not the a 
tributious of the faithful priest, and the handicraft 



MAGIC POWERS. 255 

the unbelieving Falasha, occasionally patched up the 
revered mausoleum. Half-a-dozen 'fanatic monks, 
who had come from a remote province to worship at 
the shrine of the holy fathers, when they saw me 
leveUing my photographic camera, which they mistook 
for a hostile gun, fiercely seized their massive clubs, 
and, in a compact line, marched on the imaginary 
enemy. I disarmed their monkish wrath by reversing 
the instrument. They had still some suspicion about 
my design, but, on showing them the portrait of the 
Aboona, and the process of taking a view, their fears 
were forgotten in bewildering amazement, and they 
emphatically ejaculated, "Be Aboona Sdama ye moot ! 
(By the death of Aboona Salania^ you are a magi- 



256 



CHAPTER XVni. 

Malicious Reports — ^Four Expounders of the Law — ^Boisteraiu 
Meetings — Picturesque Groups — ^Mode of Travelling — ^Meet- 
ing with a Priest — A Motionless Snake— Weavers abandon 
the Loom — An Annoying Brawl — Suspicious Quarters — ^The 
Potters of Gorgora JSHa — A Settlement without a Bible — 
Deplorable Ignorance — A Morose Host — ^Numerous Viaiton 
— Eagerness to obtain Bibles. 

To employ our time profitably, we availed ourselves of 
the interval that elapsed before the news of our 
arrival reached the scattered FaiaaAa settlements to 
make some missionary excursions in the neighbour- 
hood. Woffffida being one of the nearest villages, we 
rode there early the following morning. Several 
Jewish peasants, who were weeding the green teff 
fields, when they saw us, left their agricultural imple- 
ments, and quickly hiuried away to communicate the 
tidings. The intelligence evidently produced great 
consternation. We immediately conjectured, that the 
vicious Amharas had also here plied their mischievous 
tongues to sow distrust and alarm. To ascertain the 
truth, we dispatched Debt er ah Negomee into the 
enclosiu'c which, everywhere in Ilabesh, secures the 
homes of Israel from the polluting foot of the unbe- 
liever. He soon returned with a knot of Falashas^ 
who candidly told us that every man, woman, and 
child would have gladly assembled to hear us, had 
they not been frightened by a report, that we were 



THE GOSPEL IN THE LAW. 257 

authorized to bind round their necks the matteb * — 
the hated badge of Abyssinian Christianity. We 
Terooved their fears and prejudices before we sepa- 
rated, and they all promised to visit us frequently 
whilst at Genda. 

From this place we struck across a beautiful valley, 
where the daisy, buttercup, and geranium grew in 
perfection, to an extensive village called Oibga. 
Here the priests and people gave us a cordial and 
hearty welcome. The four expounders of the law, 
anxious to retain the confidence of their flock, expa- 
tiated in a declamatory style on the long list of ritual 
observances enjoined in the book of Leviticus. We 
fully admitted that all that they had mentioned was of 
Divine origin, but, at the same time, we also reminded 
them that God required something more than ablutions 
and the performance of certain rites and ceremonies, 
which only affected the body, but left michanged and 
unconverted the sinful heart. In this obvious truth 
they tacitly acquiesced. The scope of the law was 
next discussed, and it was an affecting sight to witness 
the breathless attention, which pervaded that assembly, 
as they heard for the first time of the love of the 
Gospel in the types and figures of their own law. 

One of the priests, the best informed of the four, 
whose heart the truth of God's Word had evidently 
penetrated, in a voice choked by the deepest emotion, 
exclaimed, " I am now too full to speak, but come to 

• The matteb is a blue silken cord, which every Abyssiman 
Chriatian man and woman wears susfjended round the neck, as 
the distinctive mark of his creed. 

s 



258 BOISTEROUS MEETINGS. 

my village, for I want to converse with you alone, and 
also aflFord my people the opportunity of hearing the 
good tidings you proclaim." We promised to accept 
his invitation, which so pleased him, that he ordered 
that portion of the Scripture which they possessed to 
be brought out ; and, whilst the women were shout- 
ing their shrill la, la, la, and the priests were bravely 
intoning some verses on purification, we took our 
departure. 

The news of our arrival at Genda^ which spread 
with almost incredible rapidity through the various 
districts far and near, attracted a vast concourse of 
Falashas to the spot where we had encamped. Our 
tent being too small to receive the numerous priests and 
their followers, we made a tree in front of our canvas 
dwelling — the usual court of the Genda administrators 
of justice — the scene of our meetings and interviews. 
These open-air assemblies, however, soon threatened 
to become very boisterous and intemperate, on account 
of the great concourse of Christian debterahs and 
priests, who thought this a splendid opportunity for 
the display of their polemical prowess against the 
Falasha infidels. To put a stop to the clamour and 
contest, we stationed some of our own and the 
Ahoonds people around the green sward, and these, 
together with several Christian debterah whom we 
had enlisted in our service, kept perfect order aud 
quiet amongst the wild and turbulent crowd. The 
Falashas, with their dark lustrous eyes rivetted upon 
us, sat motionless as statues whilst we dilated on 
various passages of Scripture in proof of the veracity 



PICTrKESQDE GROUPS. 



269 






onr faith, and its adaptation to meet the wants of 

: craving heart, and the upbraidings of the guilty con- 

Bcience. We next discussed the mysteries of the Trinity, 

and, without burdening their minds with metaphysical 

sophistries and subtle reasonings, we simply explained 

them the various prophecies which heralded the 

Ivent of the Redeemer, adverted to the numerous 

miracles which attested tlis mission, and lastly gave an 

account of His sufferiDgs and death, that sin might be 

.cancelled and the siuuer saved. Debterah Bern, the 

lOst intelligent mau we met among the Falaakaa, was 

iw urged to reply to our statements, but, as every 

ibjection which he advanced betrayed the impression 

idiiced on his own mind, he got up and walked 

iway. A few days afterwards he and two other 

de&terah, (one a teacher who lias a school of 94 

children,] came to us, and solemnly declared tlioir 

invictlous of the truth, and their earnest desire to be 

iptized. 

The number of our visitors, despite the fierce 
icat, contiruicd to increase from hour to hoiu- with- 
in terruption. Down • the narrow defile, and 
:roRS the sloping tiu-f, groups of Falashaa were seen 
itiie whole morning, thi-eading their way towards the 
ilaco of our encampment. There crept along the 
lale, haggard, and shrunken form of the monk, who 
lliad passed the best period of life in a wild jungle, 
ith the beasts for his companions, and noxious and 
[bitter roots for his food ; close tn him, with a little 
bl>ag suspended over his shoulders containing a change 
if dress belonging to his superior, struttc 1 the youth, j 



260 MODE OF TRAVBLJJNG. 

whose elastic step had not yet been weakened by 
voluntary penance, and whose bright and smiling face 
wasting superstition had not yet dimmed; in the 
rear, enveloped in his red-bordered white sAama, like 
a Roman in his toga, marched the peasant, his head 
plastered with butter, which, in the distance, and 
under the bright rays of an African sun, gave this 
important part of the human frame the aspect of a 
black polished capital, placed on a white marble 
column. The motley multitude spread themselves in 
numerous groups over the ground, and there, joined 
by a dehterah, or priest, who had already obtained a 
copy of the Word of God, the passages we had 
quoted, and the comments we had made were re- 
hearsed, till almost every one, whether he could read 
or not, got some idea of our belief, and carried home 
with him some proof of the veracity as well as the 
importance of the Christian faith. 

The noise and incessant controversial strife between 
the Jews and Christians, induced us to forestal the 
visits of the people by a short missionary tour to a 
district on the borders of the Tzana lake. In a 
country like Abyssinia, where the traveller depends 
on the charity of the people for his subsistence, on a 
tree or the luxury of a tent for a dwelling, and 
green rushes or soft grass for a bed, the preparations 
for a journey require so httle time, that we had no 
sooner decided on our tour, than the mules were 
saddled, and our servants, wrapped in the folds of 
their cumbrous sltamas^ stood ready to start. It was 
still very early when we set out, and we congratulated 



THB TOTTXG PRIEST. 



201 



I onnelres on being fortunate enough to escape the 
hypocritical and be^ng prayers of a crowd of 
lazy priests and monks. Near the Jews' village 
several shepherds who were driving their flocks into 
I the fields noticed us, and instantly more than a dozen 
^bX our acquaintances, panting and breathless, came to 
fpiquire whether we were leaving them. Their de- 
^T^ted countenances quickly brightened up, when they 
heard we were only going away for a few days, and 
we rode on amidst their sincere wishes for our speedy 
ind safe return. One of them voluntarily accompanied 
^j in order to learn, as he said, more of the Redeemer 
f Israel whom we proclaimed. 
The cool and lovely morning, which was followed 
hy a burning and fiery noon, made us long for 
mb<mnai the place where resided the priest from 
ifhom we had received an invitation at 0/iya. On 
[he road we met his assistant, a young, shrewd, and 
[vely Falasha, who at once joined our party, and with 
Krfect ease and freedom narrated all that the Jews 
had told him about us and our belief. I asked him 
' whether he would not like to learn those sublime 
Hbiiths which arc able to give peace to the conscience, 
^Bnd hope and confidence to the heart. He thought 
I^Ttat a strict observance of the Mosaic ritual and insti- 
tutions was, if united with penance and the infliction 
kof volimtary sufl'erings, quite sufficient to atone for 
tins, and to gain the favour of God. We instanced 
himself as a proof that the Falnsha priesthood Irans- 
grcBsed the very law in which they confided, and 
manifested the depravity and corruption of their 



262 DANGEROUS ENCOUNTER. 

hearts by the torture and agony they themselves 
inflicted. The heat, which continued to increase in 
intensity, compelled us to seek shelter behind a copse 
of wide-spreading acacias, and there our young friend 
squatted down close to us, and unconscious or for- 
getful of the contamination he contracted, he took the 
Bible, and unfolding page after page, read many of 
those beautiful passages which, like the scenery 
around us, breathed only love, benevolence and com- 
passion to the care-worn and anxious soul. Charmed 
by the beautiful sentiments of the seers of Israel, 
our new acquaintance eagerly read every verse 
and chapter we pointed out to him ; and when that 
faith which, unlike the law, speaks not of death and 
judgment, but of life and immortality, began to 
aflect his mind and heart, he leaped up, and fuU of 
animation exclaimed, *' Come, come, I will guide you 
to my superior." We immediately mounted, and 
under a noontide heat which made the blood boil 
and the head giddy, hastened over an uneven and 
undulating tract of country, towards some cool wide- 
spreading wanza-trees, whose massive foliage canopied 
the conical huts of Anibasina, In our search through 
the tangled weeds and loose stones for a green shady 
spot, we stumbled on a monstrous snake, which lay 
motionless like a lopped bough amid the treacherous 
grass and creepers, which we imprudently pressed 
beneath our feet. The reptile, enraged by our in- 
trusion on its quiet retreat, raised its crested head, 
and with a loud hiss appeared ready to dart on the 
foremost of the party ; but the fury which lifted it 



THE LOOM ABANDONED. 263 

above the interlaced creepers and herbage^ exposed it 
to our weapons, and in an instant a well-aimed spear 
struck on its head so fell and dexterous a blow, that a 
second would have terminated its existence, had not 
the luxuriant vegetation afforded it a refuge. 

Our unexpected arrival created the most lively ex- 
citement, and young and old abandoned the loom, and 
hastened with their two sacerdotal chiefs to see the 
white Falashas. The solemn truths on which we had 
expatiated at Oibya were again rehearsed, and to 
their surprise and wonder they all saw that the law, 
in which they had hitherto confided and believed, had 
time and not eternity, temporal and not spiritual pro- 
mises, for its reward. Perfectly absorbed in the 
magnitude of this theme, we lingered amidst this 
interesting assembly for a considerable time, and 
when at last the declining shadows reminded us that 
we must move, the tear and melancholy gaze of the 
majority convinced us that the tidings of mercy, 
though heard for the first time, had touched their 
hearts and filled their minds with wonder and awe. 

An hour's further ride brought us to Gouerna, a 
lai^e village inhabited by Jews and Christians. The 
thatched huts of the Fcdaahas were situated at some 
distance from those of their Amhara neighbours, 
a precaution strictly enjoined by mutual antipathy 
and religious prejudice. We rode on towards the 
outskirts of the settlement, and there on a sloping 
ground, overshadowed by a sycamore, we saw about 
ten persons poring over a soiled parchment manu- 
script of the Gospel of St. John. The sight of this 



264 AN ANNOYING BRAWL. 

sacred portion of God's Word at once convinced us 
that our mission had ahreadj excited some inqniiy 
among the people. Our conversation, which naturally 
turned upon the Scripture they had been studying, 
was soon interrupted by loud screams interpolated 
with emphatic oaths, which in hideous confusion 
struck upon our ears. The disagreeable brawlers 
swept right on towards us, shouting in a variety of 
keys, and not very choice expressions, that our servants 
had maltreated some notorious scamp, for an old 
ofPence, of which he was as innocent as a newborn 
babe. We promptly instituted a court, and then and 
there, in strict conformity with Abyssinian law, en- 
deavoured to have the cause of the riot thoroughly 
sifted. The spirit of litigation, for which the natives 
have an innate love, threatened, however, to occupy 
more time than we could possibly spare, and as my 
patience was already exhausted, I cut the gordian 
knot of the inexplicable fray, by insisting that my 
people, who were the aggressors, should apologize to 
their incensed opponents. This met with the judge's 
full approbation ; and in an instant the offenders, who 
expected a severer punishment, poised heavy stones 
on their necks, and in an attitude of cringing humility, 
besought pardon of the plaintiflFs for their hasty 
assault. The vindictive spirit so rife amongst this 
hot-tempered and excitable race, was not quite ap- 
peased, even after this reconciliation had been eflFected ; 
and, in order to disappoint the idle savages who 
delight in fights and squabbles, we moved on, escorted 
by about a dozen Falashas, who lamented the unfor- 



SUSPICIOUS QUARTERS. 265 

timate incident, and promised to visit us on our 
return to Genda. 

An hour before sundown, we came to a small 
Christian hamlet near Gorgora Eila. The wretched 
appearance of the hovels, and the insolent air of the 
gaunt and scantily-clad inhabitants made us question 
the wisdom of selecting that spot for our night's 
lodging. Fatigue and exhaustion, however, overcame 
our suspicious fears, and, had not the famished hyenas 
too freely indulged in their boisterous laughter, we 
should have felt quite at home among our savage- 
looking acquaintances. 

Early in the morning we rode to Gorgora EUa, a 
village occupied by FaJaaha potters. Men and 
women, even at that early hour, were busy moulding 
pots and pans and other useful domestic utensils. 
Lathe and moulds they do not require to give shape 
to their manufacture, necessity having taught them to 
dispense with every implement in carrying on their 
craft. Their dexterous fingers give form to the clay, 
and the sun and a good fire dry and temper it after- 
wards. The articles they make are very strong, and 
this, as the poor people naively told me, is a serious 
obstacle to their industry. At Gorgora Eila, although 
a respectable settlement, we did not find one who 
could read fluently. Against the truths we preached 
they offered no objection and advanced no argument. 
" We know that we are sinners, and stand in need of 
forgiveness," was their unanimous reply ; " but neither 
we nor our priests ever, before your arrival, heard of 
a Redeemer who died to satisfy Divine justice, and to 



266 • PLEASANT BIDE. 

procure for man the Divine mercy." We asked them 
whether they would like to be instructed in the 
nature of God's love to man as shown in the incar- 
nation, life, and death of our Saviour. 

This abrupt query diffused smiles of happiness over 
their embrowned countenances, and each one heartily 
joined in the response, " Yes, we want to learn, if you 
will only come and teach us." Before we separated, 
several of the women brought us bread, milk, and 
peppered paste, and as we did not feel inclined to eat, 
they persuaded us to take on our journey these tokens 
of their hospitality and gratitude. 

We now struck across a beautiful heath dotted 
with browsing flocks, and vocal with the wild music 
of the shepherd's pipe. Numerous huts, constructed 
of a framework of thick canes, interwoven with 
mimosa bushes and acacia boughs, were discernible 
at short intervals throughout the Arcadian scene, 
in which, like fanes of sylvan deities, they stood 
secluded. As we advanced the road became more 
rugged, wild, and picturesque. Lofty cliffs and pro- 
montories, intersected by deep wooded valleys, now 
obscured, and then again suddenly revealed the 
prospect over the broad and unrippled Tzana. Here, 
upon a giddy summit, far above the towering heights, 
rose, amid a forest of stately junipers, the Christians' 
place of worship ; yonder in those glens, agitated by 
a gentle breeze, waved an abundant harvest of wheat, 
teff, and barley, bordered by golden strips of the 
yellow oil-plant, whilst the very road we traversed 
was one entangled shrubbery of jessamine, honey- 



SCARCITY OF BIBLBS. 267 

mekle, thyme^ and other aromatic plants, which at the 
ooeh of our feet breathed a fragrance that imparted 
m exquisite perfume to the atmosphere. We halted 
KHne hours at Gorgora DereskeCy where a considerable 
mdience immediately collected around us. As in 
ithtf settlements so in this also, they had never pos- 
leased a complete copy of the inspired volume, and, 
in default of Scriptural knowledge, were naturally 
incUned to believe that fasts, penances, sacrifices, 
tithes, and daily ablutions satisfied the demands of 
Qod's law, and atoned for man's transgression. 

About purity of thought and holiness of mind they 
bad no idea, and when we asked them whether they 
believed that mere external acts such as they had 
named, without that corresponding faith and love to 
God by which our actions ought to be regulated, were 
BufScient in the sight of Him who said, " Be ye holy, 
for I am holy," they merely shook their heads, and 
replied, " We have our priests, and what they order 
we implicitly perform." How pitiable is the state of 
this poor deluded people, who, with all their con- 
sciousness of sin and deep sense of guilt, have only 
for their refuge the condemning law, and for their 
solace the pangs of self-inflicted tortures 1 

At Atahergee, where we next halted, we found a 
busy community of ^alasha weavers. Their looms, 
which were of the clumsiest description imaginable, 
stood under sheds at the entrance of the village, and 
formed both the means of their subsistence, and a 
slight barricade against the inroads of wild beasts. 
The rattling of the shuttle between the bamboo-sticks 



268 DEPLORABLE IGNORANCE. 

which kept the woof properly suspended over a pit 
several feet in depth, where the weaver sat comfort- 
ably ensconced, ceased on our approach. We took 
our seats under the central shed, and entered into 
friendly and familiar converse with the simple-minded 
workmen collected around us. The village, they told 
us, contained a population of above a hundred souls; 
but amongst that number there was not one who 
could spell a single word either in Amharic or 
Ethiopic. The usual ritual observances, and a few 
prayers said by rote, constituted their whole religious 
worship. "And have you never heard of a Re- 
deemer," we inquired, " who left His throne of glory, 
assumed our nature, suflPered, bled, and died, that the 
law which denounced death against all who sinned 
might be superseded by the Gospel, which pro- 
mises life and immortality to all who repent and 
believe?" Their answer was, "We have received 
intelligence of these wonderful things from brethren 
who have conversed with you ; but, before your 
arrival, we never heard the name of a Redeemer, 
nor knew that it occurred in our books." Having 
read to them several passages of Scripture, we re- 
mounted our mules, and, through deep gorges white 
with foaming cascades, and over verdant meadows 
whose flower-bespangled surface concealed dangerous 
pitfalls and treacherous marshes, toiled down to Debra 
Sina, a peninsula, where we expected a cargo of books 
from the island of Matracha. 

The prospect from this place across the calm, 
smooth lake, studded with numerous islets, and 



A MOROSE HOST. 269 

bounded by perpendicular volcanic rocks and winding 
valleys, afPorded a sight which we could not suffi- 
ciently admire. The peninsula itself, wooded by a 
grove of dark trees and the interlaced foliage of 
various flowering shrubs, through which a church 
and several houses were distinctly visible, formed 
the most perfect scene of quiet and repose imagina- 
tion could well picture. We lingered about an hour 
in this lovely spot, and then, as our books had not 
yet arrived, retraced our steps, and alighted at the 
farm of a royal officer, who gave us a sullen and 
most unfriendly reception. The long day's journey 
had sharpened our appetites, and oiur famished 
servants, dreading to pass a supperless night, began 
to urge us to leave this unblest ground. This ex- 
pression produced a favourable effect ; for our morose 
host, unwilling as he felt to supply our wants, was 
still more unwilling to become notorious for his 
rudeness towards strangers, and therefore, in regard 
for his own reputation, ordered an abundant supply 
of milk, bread, and pepper to be provided for us. 

Our night's rest was unfortunately interrupted, by 
swarms of monstrous, buzzing and stinging mosqui- 
toes, with which the rank grass where our tent stood 
appeared quite alive, so that, worn out and exhausted 
as we felt, we were glad to quit a spot so uninviting 
to the wearied wayfarer. About an hour's ride 
brought us to Tschangar^ famous for its convent and 
sanctuary, and infamous for the arrogance and pride 
of its large population. We had intended to make a 
short stay in this place, but in our ride through the 



270 xr3i£Rors visitors. 

colkction of $ugarloaf-sha{3ed huts, we enconntotd 
so many grim and malignant countenances, that we 
preferred hunger, to the doubtful hospitahty of then 
repulsive savages. At noon we reached Genda^ and 
never, I believe, was a refuge more welcome to the 
homeless than were the familiar tree and our tented 
dwelling to the foot-sore, way-worn, and feverish mis- 
sionaries. 

The Sunday, which we had anticipated with delight, 
promised from the \tr\ beginning to become a noi^, 
busy, and exciting day. At first, only a few priests 
made their appearance, and in imploring accents sup- 
plicated for Bibles. We told them to come the f(J- 
lowing morning, but, instead of complying with our 
request, they squatted down in sad and gloomy de- 
spondency in front of our tent. Gradually, as the 
risiiijr sun mounted above the horizon, and bathed in 
its ruildv c:lare each shrub and bouirb, the immber of 
our visitors increased, and before nianv hours had 
elapsed we found uui-sclves surroimded by a whole 
nuiltitude of monks and priests, in whose troubled 
and hajTiTiird countenances, one could read the devour- 
imr anxietv and corrodins: fear, which lacerated their 
hearts and agonized their souls. Several drb/erah, 
whom the dailv routine of ticld-labour, or the exertions 
of the hammer and the loom, do not allow much leisim? 
to indulixe in those doomv thoughts which haunt the 
mind of the lonely hermit in his pestilential jungle 
and desolate wilderness, asked us a number of im- 
portant and weighty questions, amongst others this, 
" \A'hy, if faith be necessary to salvation, has not 



CANDID CONFESSION. 271 

God, who gave a Saviour, also imparted knowledge to 
imderstand, and faith to beUeve in that Saviour?" 
We reminded them that Moses himself had removed 
the difficulties . which perplexed their minds by the 
plain declaration that the temple, the priesthood, the 
altar, and the bleeding victim, were only types and 
emblems, which derived their significance from Him 
who was to be a guide to the earthly Canaan, as well 
88 a Saviour of smners, to procure admission into the 
heavenly Canaan. To corroborate this we quoted 
Exodus xxiii. 20, 21, and, as if anticipating the words 
which hung on our lips, they at once said to each 
other, ''Since all this is plainly revealed, we must 
bkme our own hearts for want of faith, and our own 
minds for incapacity to understand." This discussion, 
which lasted several hours, made a deep impression on 
all, but particularly on the debterahsy who, without 
exception, avowed that our faith was furnished with 
sufficient proofs to convince the mind, and ample pro- 
mises to win the affections of the heart. 

The books which had been lying at the isle of 
Matracha, at length safely arrived. This cheering 
intelligence created quite a sensation among the 
FalashaSy and from all directions large groups of 
turbaned priests and bareheaded debterah eagerly 
hastened to Genda to secure copies of the Inspired 
Volume. We spoke to the different groups who in 
succession surrounded us on the curses and blessings, 
the rewards and the punishments, which the Bible 
announced ; and then, to impress on them the re- 
sponsibiUty which the possession of that precious 



HMfi. fa£udi«tL V? TfCLfsded them that formeily thej 

nuiii sij "Uify ^ 3X kiK>v of a Redeemer, wbo 

ni:*i riac iisor^ t^jjSl; hare a compensatioD to 

a.vsc iixii suzTry zzci: hire foipTeness to bestov; 

'lac ins: 3inr. saci; 3k;T possessed the oracles d 

^r^L ^'lara iosFv^rfd aZ :hfir inqairies and satisfied 

al :ai:x Smccs: <:ii:a ex;:Qaes and ]deas would onlj 

a ^ ^' ^i.i& i ixtvtr xxjl i=id enhance the penalty of 

iiL!r ma%:ritff, Y!ti:T rr:ciS$ed ;o attend to our in- 

^37u:«iira& loii tiifa rscirrfc :o their friends, who were 

^ctfn^R*£ x^^ ■ui! leocL i::ba* enjip^d in polemictl 

isscus&m^ "v-jix Ui; lu^iri^ CLrLsgjir,^ or listening to 

jm; li iit^x :^rT vxcla. wi: w:$s re-Aliag s»3me of the 

X^'^euani: Tie^au?^ ▼IJ:^ we hsd maii^ed in their 

liOtt:^ ITii: 'luscif. ^ilL a^o exciter^ent continued 

:nl nsrir.. so^ ^^ ifTLLi aZ a:\xi2d its was hushed 

;nv s TtnLvr :■::»:•■: s;!"': tiii: rrfrr few minutes the 

-^ i:r: I. »« i^ i *"''^ i^iLil ^ 2cvir*\ x pivy broke 



273 



CHAFrER XIX. 

An Unlettered Group — The Monkey-bread Tree — Sincere 
Inquirers — Great Surprise — Ethiopian Serenaders — The 
Fanatic Monk — Evening Chat — Ardent Debate — An TJn- 
dftimted Petitioner — ^A Desolate Region — Beauty of the 
Lowland — ^An Aristocratic Friend — The Eloquent Prophet 
— Conjugal Differences — ^The Deserted Wife — Midnight 
Adventures — Dread of the New Testament — The Breath- 
less Pursuit — B^fusal of a Bequest. 

We had been dX Genda from the 8th to the 18th of 
October, and although during that period we were 
constantly engaged in proclaiming the tidings of mercy 
to hundreds and hundreds of Falaahas, who came from 
every part of Abyssinia — from the bleak summits of 
JSemien^ and the malarious jungles of Quara — we still 
thought it advisable, although the numbers of our 
visitors had not diminished, to carry the message of 
salvation to the homes and villages of the people, 
where both old and young, men and women, might 
be benefited by our message. This consideration 
induced us to set our small caravan again in motion. 
Our direction was south-west, over an extensive 
pasture land, on which browsed immense herds of 
cattle belong to the Zelan, a nomadic tribe, who pro- 
fess a kind of hybrid creed, which unites to a few 
Christian rites all the senseless vagaries of their 
former Paganism. At Lai Belash, a small Fala»i^ 

T 



274 FALSE CONFIDENCE. 

village, we made a short halt in order to speak to the 
people, who on our approach came out to meet us. 
There were about a dozen adults and a few children 
collected together, but in this little group there was 
not one who possessed the least biblical knowledge, 
or could answer the most simple question on religious 
subjects. " We perform daily ablutions, fast twice a 
week, pay tithe to our priests, do penance, receive 
absolution ; and these acts,'' they repeatedly aaid, 
'^ secure us heaven and the bliss of Paradise ! " Th^ 
the voice which spoke on Sinai's Mount annoiiiioe4. 
only promises limited to time, they had never hettd^-'. 
and their cheeks grew pale, and their looks bewilderait: \ 
when we told them that the Law of Moses was do* 
signed to secure a temporal kingdom, and the Goapd 
of Christ to secure a heavenly inheritance. With 
many a keen pang of grief for this poor people, who 
arc fettered in the trammels of a despotism far more 
crushing and blasting than their fathers ever expe- 
rienced, we proceeded on our jouniey till the declining 
sun warned us to deviate from our path, and to seek 
a refuge for the night in one of the thickets whither 
a lawless soldiery compels the peasant to fly for 
refuge. Some of the Jews who accompanied us as 
guides led us across pathless hills and glens to a large 
Christian village, where, in the deep grass, we found 
a clean and soft bed. Mint, balsam, and other 
aromatic shrubs, interspersed with prickly weeds and 
brambles, grew in luxuriant profusion beneath the 
leafy canopy of the monkey-bread tree. About a 
dozen peasants, who had followed me in a ramble 



THE MONKEY-BEEA.D TREE. 275 

over their meadows and fields, were much nmuscd to 

observe me gaziug through the incomprehensible pho- 

graphic camera nt. a niaguificent epecimeii of their 




ttivc forests. Tlie tree measured upwards of forty 
f('rt in circumference, and the lower branches, which 
extended in a horizontal directiouj were more than 
double this size in length. From the distance it had 
tlie appearance of a luxurious grove, in whose shade a 
whole regiment might find a comfortalile retreat from 
the noontide heat. To rush from the fiery blaze of 
an ardent sun into the refreshing gloom of these uni- 
^■geous trees, wouUl bu the excess of pleasurable 
HQigencc after a toilsome march ; but the ccrtaiobj 



276 SINCERE INQUIRERS. 

of fever or ague deters the wayfarer from stretching 
his aching limbs on the canopied verdmre, in which 
the seeds of disease perpetually lurk. 

The sun had not yet dissipated the dewy vapours 
of a chilly night, when a whole group of Falashas^ 
engaged in earnest converse, approached our tent. 
The ahama was instantly thrown over our shoulders, 
and, wrapt in the folds of this convenient garb, we 
were, without the waste of a minute, in full Abys- 
sinian dress. Our kind friends of the previous day 
had no sooner squatted down on the wet grass than 
they seized the Amharic Bible, and, turning over its 
leaves, pointed out to their acquaintances several Mes* 
sianic passages, which no doubt had been the theme 
of their evening discussion. I assisted their re- 
searches, and then left them to Mr. Flad, who for 
more than an hour conversed with them, on the tender 
love and compassion of our God, as revealed in the 
sufferings and death of the Redeemer. 

They expressed themselves delighted with what we 
had told them, and promised to ponder seriously 
over what they had heard. We gave them a Bible, 
and, amid an exuberance of valedictions, started for 
ChamarCy the central town of Dayossa, a district con- 
taining a considerable Jewish population. It was 
past noon, after a most fatiguing and trying journey 
through many a deep gorge and narrow defile, where 
the lurid heat of an unclouded sky made the head 
and eyes ache with a feverish fire, that, utterly worn 
out and prostrate, we reached our destination. Having 
no royal baldaraba, or conductor from the King, the 



CSSOLICITED HOSPITALITY. 277 

Governor, a very kind man, a rarity iii Abyasinia, 

expressed his regret that he could not provide for our 

^wants, though he willingly proaiised to secure huts 

^■nr our people and mules. The Jews, very soon after 

^^d arrival, came to see us, and, to our agreeable aur- 

prise, brought us, quite unsolicited, fowls, milk, and 

bread, just the provisions we needed. We informed 

them that we inteuded to remain a few days in their 

Bettlement, and also that we should deem it a favour 

^Jf they would acquaint their coreligionists of our pre- 

Hkoice at Chamate. They readily complied with our 

^■Hjuest, and, before night, messengers were despatched 

to all the Falasha hamlets and villages, to announce 

the arrival of the white missionaries. 

Early on the following morning, before the sun 
had mounted above the horizon we were seated on 
some stones in the shadow of a rock, explaining to a 
lajge audience the great topic which had brought us 
. to Abyssinia. They manifested deep anxiety to be- 

Eiue acquainted with the contents of God's Word, 
d the method of salvation through a suffering Re- 
emer. It is quite impossible to describe their 
amazed looks and startled expressions of countenance, 
when we dUated on the subject of sacrifices, and 
^fclc&rly demonstrated that sacrificial rites and myste- 
^Kous emblems were to cease with the advent of Him, 
^■who gave significance to every type, and substance to 
every shadow. " According to your statement," they 
Baid, " we ought not to offer any sacrifices, nor pay 
Hfanplicit obedience to the laws which Moses enjoined 
^Kipon Israel; but, if that is correct, our priests, and 



^^ 




£78 A SERENADE. 

not we, must suffer the penalty of the error." We 
read to them a part of the eighteenth chapter of Eze- 
kiel, and then, as several Christian priests and the 
governor of the place were present, we told them that 
their teachers, like those of the Christians, were, un- 
fortunately, more guided by custom and traditional 
usages than by the revealed Word of Grod, and that 
hence arose their numerous legends and fables, super- 
stitions and soul-destroying errors. 

On our return from the FcUasha village, a succes- 
sion of Christian priests and monks occupied us the 
rest of the day. They were a superior class to the 
generality of the ecclesiastics, and I was glad to hear 
them express a hope, that our efforts for the welfare 
of the Falashaa, might also be blessed to their own 
people. 

A band of students, accompanied by their pro- 
fessors, favoured us with a serenade. Hoping to get 
rid of the tormenting songsters, we sent them the 
expected largesse; but the spirit of music, once 
evoked, could not be so easily silenced, and, uncharit- 
able as it may seem, I must confess, that my aching 
cars made me fervently sigh for a universal hoarseness 
among those bawling throats. 

The art of music, though practised by all, is only 
scientifically studied by debterahs, ecclesiastics, and a 
contemptible set of strolling minstrels, called asmarees. 
The young student for the priestly office, next to a 
small stock of Ethiopic lore, pays particidar • attention 
to this accomplishment, which is a sure step to future 
preferment. In the absence of every guide, or musical 



MUSICAL TASTE. 279 

scale, the celebrity of the singer depends entirely on the 
soundness of his lungs and the dictates of his own good 
taste. A piercing nasal twang, is the orthodox style ; 
and the stranger who has once attended a rehearsal in 
a church or convent, where young debterahs and can- 
didates for Holy Orders practise, is not likely to expose 
himself a second time to the distracting noises of an 
Ethiopian choir. 

The notice of our arrival, which had been commu- 
nicated to the different Falasha settlements in the dis- 
trict, brought all the priests and their friends to Chamare. 
The majority of these turbaned ecclesiastics had never 
seen a complete volume of the Sacred Scriptures, and 
their demand for copies far exceeded the stock at 
our disposal. Before we supplied any applicant, we 
invariably made him read a few verses, in order to 
test his acquaintance with the Amharic character. 
The passages we selected were either direct Messianic 
prophecies, or solemn appeals to the heart, and these 
important topics kept up without interruption the 
serious tone of our discussions. 

A monk, whose cadaverous and scowling stare, 
marked him as one of those fanatics, who seek in 
deserts and unsightly wastes that peace which they 
cannot find in the more active haunts of life, now 
approached our open tent. We invited him to come 
nearer ; but, instead of yielding to our request, he 
bestowed on us a glance in which malice, scorn, 
hatred, *bigotry, and every other evil passion were 
strikingly depicted. Oiu: indifference to his withering 
scowl disarmed him of his ire, and, with knitted 



£5»l 

3iniK¥ buc san^samHf^ k joaed 4r ciicle cf kii 



r^^ - -^■' -- 




Dnsmntt hskdvc oEnmamA Amnemi md, to 
"ias: -uii'jM *^ if liL "s^ iDOBik kad ^"•^■■g to ay. ■ 

2E87?. Wt m^ aBockned kim on Ac |Baiw» 

un JHiiriitfT :c 'al^ Ftusie Inefsrckr, ov^lit not to 
jart snirnKc -viuc G:e lud ioriaddeii, vhikt ochoi 
af:duc^£ -sac x "vck tiscer to tJE^ the bodv tban to 
xxuiof 'Oif jurv. Tiiisx. i^kf qianci besan to grov 
g?*ThTiffTr im£ -y^wrT^yr. vr^ r^zaed ilie coDvemtkm 
ncj 1 Tirr nr±«!rDni^ £x>i 3?a tkp coreiumt (^ vorfa 
iricte^i i: T3i£ rcf&sb^mkra of tiie covenant of 
pvs. r!it^ ii2zid:»i isas. Jeremiah txxi 31, eri- 
atu'^T r:i5;rr^ tc "Lbf NfT Testament; the surif 
i:-.c-i :-.':ctf. n iz. i;^.Ti:cC tii 3rpi>ecating tone erf 
■ .i\:" . ii-j-ALT:-! u*i: V v:.i^£ z?:c IfeiieTe Jeremiah, as 
ic \'i:j^ i ^'^Irj^ru^ iz£ !.•:•: ;& Jrw. Such and similar 
j.viiiKi ia^r-^'-cs i:i:i: virions prz^htcies roused once 
:l» r: ■-:•: :::'::.^7;i:j:c :c" >:c:r z^lu:T<:i*j and, in a 
jcru-i :c ::-Ij:^ 5;Lr.-2s^ii- i:: which the Abrssinians 
i\.-\ . lii • icsj^i-jic :bf p:or j£oe:ic till he fairlv gave 
..T M- .-^.cTis:. i:ri w".:! a d-rcced sravitv avoided all 
>.\:v*. .: :1<: ^:<: :: :v:r ciacuision. Towards noon 
: '.»i :':.i: xci::.z ii.:c-^vIt opprvTsjive. To relieve our 
-v.^ rr.v::: * >.:f >ri:i~^ scLNihon, we had one side of 
' ■' :.r: rir':-»;c, >:ill :'-e air was so scorching, 
- *^ :lv ::.-.;. ir/::^i,^ from the greasy and steaming 
--^— ::.::^.v^: $c cfc*::>ivo. iha: we were reluctantlv com- 



BYENING CHAT. 281 

pelled to solicit a short respite from the incessant toil 
of preaching and polemical debate. They immedi- 
ately retired to a spot distant some yards from omr 
tent, and there, with the Bible in their hands, they 
formed themselves into different circles, intent on the 
subject of their discussion, and utterly indifferent to 
the fiery rays, which brought the butter down their 
heads in bUstering and bUnding streams. 

At our second meeting we endeavoured to impress 
on them the guilt of man and the love of God, the 
holiness of the law and the penalty attached to its 
transgression ; and these and other important truths 
moved the heart of the multitude, and made them 
breathe out, " Woe unto us, for our eyes are closed, 
our minds darkened, and we know not God ! " 

In the evening I repaired to a gentle eminence 
above the plain, from whence I had a magnificent 
prospect over the starlit waters of the Tzana, The 
hot winds which prevailed during the day had entirely 
subsided, and all nature revived, as from a trance, 
under the infiuence of the cool and refreshing atmo- 
sphere. About half-a-dozen Falasha men, and an 
equal number of women, gathered around me, to 
enjoy the beauty of the calm scene, as well as to 
while away the long evening in friendly chat. They 
frankly avowed that they were quite conscious, that a 
creed which only enjoined lavations, sacrifices, and 
ritual observances, could not remove sin, nor relieve 
the guilt-oppressed heart ; and then, as if anxious to 
stifle the doubts and fears which had prompted their 
scepticism, they immediately added, " But, after all, 



282 A WARM DEBATE. 

our religion must be true, since it is contained in tki 
book which Moses received direct from Grod." I mh 
siired them that I fully believed eveiy word ooDtmMti 
in the law delivered to Moses on Sinai and in. fli 
Wilderness, and that the only important point on wlitf 
we diflfered, consisted in this, that tiey sooght aiiw 
tion in a few hollow and empty ceremonies^ wbSbt «». 
trusted for pardon and forgiveness to the Mend^ 
whom these rites and institutions typified. TBoe 
was a solemnity and earnestness in the convetss&m^ 
which the quiet of the hour, the starry lovelineas oC 
the sky, and all the beauties and wonders of cieatkiii 
by which we were encompassed, greatly tended to 
make lasting and impressive. This was particulaify 
the case with the women, who listened in silence to 
all that we said, and only now and then by suppressed 
sighs, or devout upturned glances of their daik 
eyes, l)ctraycd the swelling emotions which they expe- 
ricncod. 

On the (lay of our departure, the excitement and 
noise reached a i)itch of perfect frenzy. Jews and 
Christians, priests and people, in a confused and deaf- 
ening din, wrangled and disputed in the most pas- 
sionate temper, on the most sublime and sacred topics. 
^Xc endeavoured to ([uiet and calm the fiery dis- 
putants ; but we might as well have essayed to sway 
the wind-lashed waves of the Tzana. The clamour 
and tumult of the contending parties, which rendered 
our i)rolonged stay utterly useless, induced us to 
mount our nuiles and to hasten from the turbulent 
scene. About twenty Falcusha^i anil several monks. 







V 

t 

I- 



-■■'4 



5 






• >, 

■ i' 



I >r 



'*■ • if 



DEEP GRATITUDE. 283 

amongst whom was the fanatical ascetic, accompanied 
us over an undulating acacia-covered tract, to Shar- 
ffee, two hours' distance from Chamare, where we 
spent the next night. As in all other places, so also 
here, we were, from the moment of our arrival to the 
decline of day, uninterruptedly engaged in solving the 
doubts of superstition, in removing the errors of un- 
belief, and in pointing out the true way of life to the 
anxious and inquiring. Without exception, the people 
and tl^e priests, — those who had heard us before and 
those who now listened to us for the first time,-r-all 
acknowledged that Christ was revealed in the Bible, 
and that they could not suflSciently thank us for our 
toil and pains in making known to them those sublime 
truths, which had hitherto been hidden from their 
minds. 

The desire to possess the written was quite equal 
to the desire to hear the preached Word. From 
the lowland of Quara, and the mountains of Seniien, 
the scattered communities sent their deputations to 
secure for their respective settlements a copy of the 
sacred volume. One man who had come to Genda 
from a distance of several days' journey, on his arrival 
found that we were gone. Nothing daunted, he 
grasped his pilgrim's staff and followed our track to 
Chamare. On meeting us, a visible sensation of joy 
broke abruptly over the dark features of the care- 
worn wanderer, and, in strains of eloquent sincerity, 
he preferred his request. Another man — a priest, 
when he entered our tent, naively said, " I visited 
Chamare on business, and was just about to depart 



284 PATHETIC APPEAL. 

when I heard of your approach. Well, thought I, 
these men love the FalashaSy and are interested in 
their welfare, the God of Israel may therefore dispose 
them to give me a Bible for my people. Encouraged 
by this hope, I went up to your tent, but the crowd 
was so dense that I failed in gaining admission. The 
next day I heard you preach, and again, on the day 
following, I listened to a lengthy discussion. Many 
afterwards got Bibles, but, though I entreated most 
earnestly, God evidently did not dispose your Jieart 
to grant my request. Now this morning my hopes 
are again disappointed ; but, as I am accustomed to 
walk, I shall follow you till God inclines your heart 
to yield to my prayers." Such and similar pathetic 
appeals we heard almost daily; and, although we 
were unable to satisfy the importunate demands of 
all, yet we rejoiced to witness this spirit of anxious 
inquiry, — this yearning for the life-giving Word. 
Those who were happy enough to obtain the sacred 
volume, manifested their boundless gratitude by 
bringing us presents of fowls, milk, bread, &c., and 
those who came from a distance, and had nothing 
with which to make a return for the invaluable gift, 
prostrated themselves on the ground, and, notwith- 
standing our entreaties, would kiss our hands and 
feet — aye, the very ground where we sat, in token of 
their heartfelt acknowledgment. Our great difficulty 
was, to transport the heavy Amharic Bibles across a 
country where sometimes for hours the path wound 
along a yawning abyss, or over a steep rocky height. 
The poor people, however, thought we coidd sur- 



A DESEBTED EDEN. 285 

mount every physical impossibility , and consequently , 
whenever we put off an applicant till our return to 
Genda^ he would regard it as a denial to his request, 
and squat down near our camp, the very picture 
of despair. 

Daylight saw us again pursuing our weary and 
fatiguing journey in a south-west direction towards 
Alava. The country we had to traverse, our Abys- 
sinians called a birhan, or untenanted wild ; and cer- 
tainly the name was quite appropriate, for the spacious 
pasture ground and the wooded hills, were alike unoc- 
cupied by the peasant's hut, and unenlivened by 
grazing flocks. The curse of civil war, which has raged 
unchecked, like a ravaging pestilence, m this unhappy 
land for more than a century, has depopulated whole 
provinces, and laid regions desolate, which, even in 
their present blighted and forlorn aspect, still smile 
with the loveliness of a deserted Eden, and the varie- 
gated attractions of a Paradise in ruins. Towards 
midday we descended into a deep, well-watered glen, 
where the vertical rays of a relentless sun fell on us 
with such intense and concentrated violence, that, 
regardless of obnoxious exhalations, and the distance 
of the stage, we threw ourselves on the tender herbage, 
and luxuriated in the refreshing shadow of the 
venerable trees. 

The vegetation of the lowland district, is of a size 
and beauty surpassing all description. Plants and 
trees of the most lovely variety, from the sweet- 
scented jessamine to the gigantic sycamore, grow here 
in the utmost profusion. The fertile soil, watered 



A FRIEND IN NEED. 2S7 

an overhanging cliff, and the torn and craggy Amba 
rising perpendicularly from the wooded glen, are 
visibly marked by the traces of a terrific subterraneous 
convulsion. We lingered in the sombre foliage, 
despite its aguish exhalations, tiU the decline of noon, 
when we set our caravan again in motion, and vigor- 
ously scaled a steep pass that led to Adeida Miriam^ 
the central point of Alma. 

The Shum^ happening to be one of that numerous 
class of Abyssinians who regard the white man with 
a jaundiced and malignant eye, gave us a reception 
that did not tend to allay our fears for our personal 
safety in a district where, till very lately, the power 
of the law waa. defied, and violence and crime were 
impudently housed. Providentially an old man in 
the village, a scion of an eclipsed aristocratic race, 
came to our assistance, and, through his good ottices, 
our people and animals were provided with lodgings, 
and we ourselves placed under the a^gis of his revered 
name. The low diet on which we had been forcibly 
kept for the last two days, made us a little nervous 
about our evening's fare. The kind old man, as well 
as the Falashasy anticipated our wants, and an ample 
supply of bread, milk, and pepper, were sent us fur 
our evening repast. 

The dawning day had scarcely burst through 
the heavy masses of dark clouds, which hung like 
a pall over the sky, when from every quarter we 
perceived numerous parties of Falas/ias wending 
their way towards our encampment. Adeida Miriain 
being close on the borders of Quara, a province 



SSS THS ZLOQUKNT FBOPHXT. 

wheie Tcdcanic moantains and impenetrable jungles, 
affcffd an appropriate retreat to the superstitioas 
priesi and penitential monk, we were yisited by 
serial o[ these recluses, in whoee haggard features 
and quivering frames could be read the traces of har- 
rowing trouble and feverish despair. They were all 
legalists, glorving in the kw and devoted to its 
enactments, without in the least understanding its 
scope, or perceiving the gracious design it was in- 
tended to accomplish. One priest in particular, whom 
many of his followers styled a prophet, after iodulging 
in a hyperbolical exordium on the faith of the FalasAas, 
pouited forth an eloquent pan^yric, on the laudable 
efforts oi the white men for the spiritual welfare of 
the people. We at first thought that, like a clever 
declaimer, he iotended, by a graceful rhetorical 
artifice, to magnifr the disinterestedness of our 
labours, iu order to give emphasis to a final depre- 
catory sentence; but, to our agreeable surprise, 
he continued his highly-coloured and impassionate 
harangue till at last sheer exhaustion compelled 
him to stop, and then he reiterated several times, 
" True I true I vou instnict oiur iimorance : vou 
seek to enlighten our mental darkness, and try 
to alleviate oiu: spiritual sorrow ; yet alas ! " he 
added, in a melancholy voice, " you tell us nothing 
about the Sabbath — nothing about those laws 
which, amidst the flash of lightnbig and the roar 
of thunder, were revealed to ]Moses on Sinai's mount !" 
He subsequently produced a book called " Te/teesas 
Sam/iat/' the laws concerning the Sabbath; but. 



CONJUGAL DIFFEBENCE8. 289 

on having some of its pages translated into Amiaric, 
we found that it contained so many contradictions, 
and was interlarded with so many l^nds, that 
our entire audience, notwithstanding their deference 
and esteem for the desert prophet, joined in pro- 
testing against its authority. 

The three days to which our stay at Adeida Miriam 
was limited, passed imperceptibly away ; and the time 
again arrived, when we had to strike our tents and 
betake ourselves to the wearisome road. This in- 
cessant locomotion was very distasteful to our people, 
bat the distribution of penny looking-glasses among 
the women, and new mattebs among the men, soon 
restored their equanimity. Faros, an uncouth old 
soldier, who, during his military career, had contracted 
many bad tastes, was the most insubordinate of the 
lot. His unfortunate wife, the fifth, rumour whispered, 
that had enjoyed that precarious title, led a hard 
existence under the marital sway of the everlasting 
grumbler. Conjugal disagreements, among half-a 
dozen slenderly united couples, we could not prevent ; 
and, as the parties themselves mutually regarded 
such incidents as pleasant variations in the monotony 
of life, we permitted them to indulge, to their hearts' 
content, in this peculiar amusement. To the appli- 
cation of the hippopotamus whip, which is in great 
reputation in Ethiopia, we had an inveterate objection, 
and, however beneficial a few lashes might occasionally 
have proved, we allowed no one to use any other 
weapon than a voluble tongue, which, in genenil, 
both parties understood equally well how to apply. 



290 RECONCILIATION. 

The Wotadder * FarcLs, who highly disapproved of our 
roving disposition, had several times infringed this 
regulation; but, as the last beating inflicted on 
his wife induced her to lodge a formal complaint, 
we ordered his instant dismissal from our service. 
To lose a well-paid f place, and to forfeit two 
cows, the dowry of his spouse, who had no particular 
inclination to have her shoulder scarified with his 
cudgel, humbled the braggart, and, with a stone on his 
neck, he declared, in the presence of the village 
authorities, that, if we allowed him to retain his situa- 
tion, he would be a perfect pattern of a faithful and 
afiectionate husband. Upon that promise the stone 
was removed, and the crestfallen savage never again 
ventured to maltreat his wife. 

Our visitors had dispersed to their respective homes, 
— ^the ponderous logs heaped up in piles were kindled, 
— and night — cool and refreshing night, laden with 
balmy breezes — softly spread her sable mantle around 
our cheerful and happy camp. The burning heat, 
and perpetual excitement of preaching in a new and 
not very easy language, had exhausted our strength, 
and we eagerly sought our bed of fresh gathered 
rushes, to recruit the wearied frame for the projected 
midnight's march. A few friendly peasants and in- 
quiring FalashaSy bearing presents of milk and bread 
for our evening repast, were the only strangers allowed 

* Soldier. 

t Our men -servants got four dollars, or I65. 8(/. ; and the 
women three dollars, or 12^. (dd, per annum, besides food. 
Natives seldom pay more tluin one or two dollars j)er year. 



■ A FAITHLESS HUSBAND. 291 

to remain, all others were forbidden to intrude into 
our bivouac. Two female figures, however, muffled 
in white shamas, and moving stealthily about in an 
adjacent copse, excited my suspicion, and I sent our 
asaah to request them to seek a more appropriate 
Iftelter. They evidently understood the order; for. 
Before the man could execute kis couimission, both had 
rushed into our camp, and were kneeling before me, 
crying, "Justice, Abict ! yi&iice, Abiel ! " The matter 
was soon explained. Hailu, one of our most active 
and useful servants, liad, on a former visit to Alava, 
formed the acquaintance of a decent young girl ; and, 
OS the lady had a few cows, and he a dollar or two, an 
alliance was formed, and the happy pair pledged, 
before several witnesses, their mutual vows of fidehty 
and unalterable attachment. Constancy being a 
virtue that does not thrive in Abyssinia, the false 
husband soon grew tired of his loving wife; and, 
under the pretext of attending a neighbouring 
market, the scoundrel decanipud. Weeks and months 
rolled slowly by, but no llaifu returned to his part- 
oner's desolate home. That he had actually deserted 
• after so short a period of nuptial life, her inex- 
rienccd and guileless heart would not behevc. She 
was willing to bemoan him as dead, but she recoiled 
from thinking him faithless. The report that the 
^lost Jlailu, together with a new wife, had reappeared 
^pt Jlava, in the retinue of the white men, dissipated 
Wktr fanciful dream ; and, accompanied by her mother, 
^be immediately set out to confront the perjured 
Buhiiu. At the conclusion of her story, which she 
H J 



fliers 
■her a 

^^eriei 



292 PEREMPTORY JUSTICE. 

narrated in an impressive and smooth flow of words, 
she raised her large tearful eyes upwards, and implor- 
ingly added, " Now you, who love and preach Christ, 
you will do justice to an injured wife — the mother 
of a helpless babe ! " 

Unfortunately such derelictions are not disrepu- 
table in a country, where marriage is considered 
a mere temporary contract, which both parties 
may break whenever they feel disposed to separate. 
The poor woman no doubt attached more than 
usual importance to the troth she had plighted, 
and, although her honourable devotion was very ill- 
requited, still, according to established custom, she 
could not prefer any legal claim upon her worthless 
husband. To afibrd her, however, some satisfaction, 
we offered to send the fellow away, and to give her 
his year's wages, — a proposal which met with her un-. 
qualified approbation. To our aristocratic friend before 
referred to, and other experienced village authorities, 
who had been requested by some busybody to assist 
in our deliberations, the punishment appeared quite 
incompatible with the offence ; and, in deference to 
their opinion, we reduced the damages to two dollars, 
which all agreed was a fortune that would bring to 
the feet of the lady all the beaux in the district. 
After the satisfactory adjustment of this second con- 
jugal squabble, we wrapt ourselves in the folds of the 
soft shama, and seriously laid down to enjoy a few 
hours' sleep. 

At midnight, just at the time when in a tropical 
climo youth and age enjoy healthy repose, we mounted 




MIDNIGHT ADVER' 

mules, and prepared to start. The talk and 

mghter of our people, who averred that no one in 

■is right senses woiUd travel by night, informed the 

iili^ers that we were about to move, and, notwith- 

tanding the habitual laziness of the Abyssinians, 

lany left their warm couches to give a valedictory 

jessing to the departing missionaries. 

We had several adventures diu-ing our nocturnal 

■ney. One tall fellow.in groping drowsilyalong, came 

I collision witii the ponderous bough of a gnarled 

!, which severely tested the metal of his hard skull ; 

iiers, by using too freely the gift of speech, and too 

ittlo the sense of sight, tumbled into prickly thickets. 



V^ 



'^^^««^fIt«V$ 



ind rent tlie air with cries for succour. These trifling 
mishaps, however, did not interrupt the mirthful 



^ 




294 A 8ILBNT PRIS8T. 

humour of our party ; and when at dawn we 
the river Keena, the boundary line between Alma 
and JDagoBsa, those who had received scratches, and 
those who had escaped unscathed, united in declaring 
that the Franks were a clever race, and understood 
best how to traverse the holla^ without incurring the 
risk of a dangerous fever. After a brief rest, we 
made a selection of the least tired of our party, and, 
leaving the rest in charge of the sumpter mules, lost 
no time in prosecuting our journey. At noon the 
fierce and scorching atmosphere compelled us to halt 
at a place not far from Shargee\ and there, to our 
infinite satisfaction, our old friends the FalasAas, and 
also the AmAaras, most hospitably brought an abund- 
ance of bread and milk for our evening repast. 

Before we set out, the whole Ankara population, 
together with their priest — a stupid-looking man, 
assembled around us. We asked them many ques- 
tions about their religious belief, and their hopes of 
salvation. The poor and ignorant people naturally 
turned to their priest for a reply, but they might as 
well have expected an answer from the fragments of 
rock which lay strewn over the turf. We gave them 
some account of the love of God, the sacrifice of 
Christ, and the sanctifying work of the Spirit, and 
exhorting them to reflect seriously on these sublime 
subjects, wc got into our saddles and rode off*. 

A march tliroiigh a most lovely country of moun- 
tains, wooded to their summits, and deep glens through 
which the impetuous streams rolled over rocky beds, 
brought us to Dartf/all, where we encamped on a 



DR£AD OF THE NEW TESTAMENT. 295 

marshy meadow, alive with a species of most savage 
and bloodthirsty mosquito. Their sting, which was like 
the sharp prick of a lancet, kept us the whole night 
in a state of feverish excitement. About dawn when 
their insatiable thirst had been glutted in our blood, 
and we hoped to close our weary eyelids, a fanatical 
monk annoyed us with the husky shout of Gaita / We 
told him to come later, but we might as well have 
ordered the sim, in consideration of our short night's 
rest, not to rise, as to persuade a fanatical ascetic to 
attend to a poUte request. On getting up, our pertina- 
cious disturber told us that he had come to return us 
the Bible we had given him, as he dreaded lest the 
contents of the New Testament should undermine his 
faith. We took back the sacred volume, and then, 
in a sharp lecture, reminded him of his fearful guilt 
in preferring darkness to light, and the performance 
of a few worthless and hollow ceremonies dictated by 
superstitious fear, to the momentous and saving truths 
revealed by the Spirit of God. Many Falas/ias from 
Dangall and from the neighbouring settlements now 
joined us, and a long and warm discussion ensued, in 
which the monk, who enjoyed a great reputation for 
sanctity, most keenly taxed the powers of his lungs. 

The sun was shining with its wonted brightness and 
dazzling splendour through a cloudless azure sky, when 
we loaded our animals and quitted the swampy plain. 
We had scarcely proceeded a mile, when, on looking 
back, we saw a party of Falashas running after us in 
breathless haste. Fearing that something serious had 

• 

occurred, we slackened our pace, but to our surpnse 




} CONTENTS OF TDE BIBLE, 



we found, wheu the panting group came up to u^. 
that they were priests and dcbteralis from vario»»* 
settlements, some of whom (a thing seldom done *'^ 
Abyssinia, on account of the numerous wild beast^' 
had been travelling the greater part of the night * 
order to overtake us, that they might thus seau**^ 
copies of the Scriptures before our stock was es — 
bausted. They had heard on the road of the fiina-^ 
tical monk, and in i t language blamed bis 

conduct. They accompanied us two miles further to 
a Mohammedan village, where, for several hours, we 
dilated on the wonderful theme of redemption, which 
we showed, by nnmeroos quotatioDS, nm Uke a golden 
thread through every page of the inspired volume, 
speaking in one place through types and emblematic 
ceremonies, and in another by visions and piophe* 
cies ; DOW appealing to the yearning affections of the 
heart, and then addressing itself to the reason and 
inteDect ; containing warnings of woe and wrath to 
the impenitent on one page, and promises of bliss and 
joy to the humble and contrite in the other. " In this 
way," we added, " God, in His infinite mercy, has 
solved for us every enigma, satisfied every doubt, and 
removed every false plea." They were very serious, 
and promised to attend our 'meetings, if we settled 
amongst them. 

At Tschelga, as elsewhere, the Falmias crowded 
around us, and anxiously inquired after those "old 
paths " which they and their fathers have so long 
forsaken. Several young priests, whose handsome 
features bore sad and cruel traces of a severe desert 



DESIRE TO VISIT JERUSALEM. 297 

pimage, volunteered to accompany me to Jerusa- 
i ; but as the mountains of Ethiopia are far better 
ipted to implant the seed of peace into the troubled 
it of an untutored Afiican, than either Syria or 
r other foreign country, I declined, on the present as 
all former occasions, to accede to such proposals. 



298 



CHAPTER XX. 



Ohoice of a Station — ^XJnsacoesBM Mwawmiy Effixrt^— 
Infiuenoe of MisdonB to the Fala;A/i»M — ^Hopefbl Sjrmptomi^^ 
Converaioii of Ethiopia — Spread of GhiiBtaaiuly — ^Dangerous 
Enemies — ^The JesidtB — Superstition — ^Heretical Doctrines^ 
Indpient Beforma — Ordination — Celibacy — ^Mental Caltisr& 



The success which had attended our explaratoiy 
mission, detennined us to make stiU more vigorous 
and concentrated efforts for the spiritual regeneration 
of the remnant of Israel in Habeah. His Majesty 
having kindly granted us full permission to settle 
wherever we felt disposed, we carefully surveyed the 
field, and, after mature deliberation, fixed on Genda 
as our centre of operations. A glance at the map 
will show that this place is geographically the most 
eligible for a station. Situated about eight miles 
north of the TsanUy Genda forms, as it were, a focus 
from whence light may radiate to illumine the be- 
nighted provinces of Tschel^a, Armatyioho, Quara, 
and Dembea, 

During the rainy season, when all communi- 
cation is interrupted by the swell of the rivers, our 
missionaries have here still within easy reach a popu- 
lation of about two thousand souls, upon whom their 



GEOUBAPHICAL POSITION OF OEXDA. 299 

undivided efforts during four months wiU not be 
misspent. 

Another feature which recommends this spot for a 
central station is its salubrity. Abyssinia, unlike 
other parts of the wide continent of Africa, is com- 
posed of mountains and valleys subject to the utmost 
variety of climate. The lowland, or koUa^ rich in 
vegetation, and aboimding in the noblest trees and 
plants of the tropics, is, for more than six months in 
the year, overspread by an atmosphere of fever fatal to 
the most robust European, and the lofty mountain 
tops are again too difficult of access, and too exposed 
to bleak winds, to afford a desirable residence even 
for a northern frame. On the elevated plateaux, 
where nature enjoys perpetual spring, and the winds 
are ever balmy and fresh, no fear need be entertained 
of being suffocated by heat, or chilled by cold. Our 
choice of the rich pasture land of Genda is, in this 
respect, most happy ; and the missionaries who may 
be located there, or on similar tracts, may confidently 
dismiss all fear as to the salubrity of the climate, 
while the magnificence of the scenery is unrivalled in 
any other part of the world. 

The field, thus eminently adapted to an European 
constitution, is also one of the most populous in the 
whole country. There are, within a day's journey of 
Genduy hundreds and thousands of FcUashaa^ Kamants, 
Christians, and Moslems, who, without exception, will 
be more or less influenced by our mission. In former 
years, intermittent efforts were made to regenerate 
the Abyssinian Church, but the labours of the 



BRIGni ANTICIPATIONS. 

foreigners soon excited the ever-watchful jealousy ol 
the priesthood, and they were expelled the country. 
Now, in our work for the evangelization of the Fa- 
lashas, we are not exposed to such a contingency, and 
yet indirectly we may, under God, be the meaiis oi 
infusing life into that dead Church, and light intq 
thiit dark land, ' 

In expressing this pi''-'''"'^ anticipation, I am na( 
indulging in a fanciful rev e. During my explora- 
tory tour in the country, I was frequently amazed to 
see viist multitudes of Amfiaras crowding around ua 
to hcflr our addresses to the Jews. Occasionally the 
theme of our discourses led to a aenoos controveny 
between the two parties. The Amiara would accuse 
the Jew of unbelief, and the Jew the Amiara at 
idolatry. The controversy would often wax warm, aa 
the debate became more serious ; but inTariably before 
they parted both parties would admit that they were 
in error, and that they required teachers to bring 
them back to the truth they had forsaken. The 
latest tidings from that remote land, which mention 
that numbers of Falaakas are fully persuaded of the 
truth of the Gospel, and anxious to be baptized, 
also announce that several Amharic priests have at- 
tended the meetings of the catechumens, and are dili- 
gently studying their Bibles. These incipient movfe- 
ments lead us to cherish the pleasing hope that the 
Falaakas will yet, under God, be the medium of 
communicating to the Ethiopian that very truth, 
which pride and suspicion would never allow him to 
accept from the envied stranger. 



HOPEFUL SYMPTOMS. 301 

The unexpected breath of heaven, now agitating the 
dry bones of Israel on the mountain-tops of Africa, 
seems an unmistakable indication that our work 
enjoys the Divine favour. The only obstacle to be 
apprehended is the intolerant spirit of the hierarchy. 
It is true, the Archbishop solemnly promised that if 
we formed congregations of Jewish believers, they 
should not be obliged to conform to the rules and 
rites of his own community, but that they should 
have toleration without schism, — and liberty of worship 
without separation from the Church. This anomalous 
imion may perhaps be designed by an all-wise Provi- 
dence to produce that moral and spiritual reformation, 
which every other effort has hitherto failed to achieve ; 
but it may also rouse the slumbering demon of per- 
secution, and subject the newly-gathered converts to 
a baptism of fire, and a trying and sifting ordeal of 
their faith. An eventuality of this kind we must be 
prepared to expect, whenever the great truth which 
at present is moving the heart of the unbelieving 
FaJasha shall come into collision with the pride, 
ignorance, and superstition of the corrupt Amhara, 
There is, however, an immortality stamped on the 
work in which we are engaged ; and the seed of the 
Gospel once implanted in the soul, will become more 
firmly rooted by its resistance to the passing storm. 
Our mission among the FcUaahas need not, therefore, 
inspire solicitude lest its efforts should be neutralized by 
persecution,, or destroyed by violence. On the con- 
trary, if our converts have to sustain a severe trial of 
their faith and confidence, we may expect, from the 



302 CONTERSIOK OF J£THIOPIA. 

ardour and warmth of their temper, that they will 
evince such enei^ and resignation, such heroiBm and 
self-sacrifice, as will throw contempt on the wrath of 
their oppressors, and secure to Central Africa a bless* 
ing it never yet possessed — ^a Christianity fiill of life 
and power — a Christianity full of energy and spirit. 

From the Fciwikas let us turn to the Christians, 
or Amharas, Christianity, the national beliel^ was 
introduced into Abyssinia in the beginning of the 
fourth century by Frumentius and Fdesius, the sons 
of a Syrian merchant, who, on a voyage to India, 
were driven by adverse winds to seek refuge on the 
rocky coast of the Red Sea. Seized by savage shep- 
herds, their venerable father and the crew were at 
once murdered, and the future Apostles of Ethiopia 
would have shared the same fate, had not their pleas- 
ing appearance and submissive bearing won them the 
good graces of their captors. Animated by the noble 
ambition of subjugating the country of their exile 
and bondage to the sway of the Redeemer, the two 
captives, immediately on their arrival at Court, whither 
thev had been conducted, set themselves to achieve 
this glorious enterprise. Their laudable efforts were 
crowned with the most wonderful success. The Em- 
peror and his Court became the first converts to the 
new faith; and the religion espoused by those in 
authority soon found adherents among the common 
people. Jthanasius, to whom Frumoitius communi- 
cated these happy tidings, gratefully acknowledged 
the missionary's zeal by consecrating him Bishop of 
the new diocese ; and the bond of union, cemented 



EFFORTS OF THE JESUITS. 808 

fifteen centuries ago between the Alexandrian and 
Abyssinian Cburches, has continued firm and un- 
broken to the present day. 

The sword of Islam, which had extinguished the 
fires of the Magi in Persia, and uprooted the idola- 
tries of Sahianmn in Arabia, at length sought to 
sweep the Cross from the mountain-regions of 
Ethiopia. Nursed in war, and expert in the use of 
the lance, the whole country united their forces to de- 
fend their religion and their home against the invading 
foe. Many a flourishing province between Nubia in 
the north, and JEnerea in the south (where some of the 
heads of the idolatrous tribes still retain a Christian 
appellation, and observe certain Christian festivals) 
succumbed to the fierce onslaught of the fanatic Mos- 
lem, and the no less sanguinary inroads of the rising 
Pagan. Formidable assaults from without, and re- 
bellion and treachery from within, brought that 
ancient monarchy almost to the brink of ruin and 
dissolution. 

In the sixteenth century the disciples of Loyola, in 
the hope of giving iclat to their new order, conceived 
the project of adding Abyssinia to the patrimony of 
St. Peter. Under the specious pretext of aiding the 
natives against their hereditary foes, the Arabs and 
Turks, they obtained permission to enter the country, 
and, by intrigues and cabal, succeeded in gaining 
many powerful partisans. But the work, supported 
by fraud and murder, was destined to end in the dis- 
comfiture of its abettors. Hatred, malice, and all 
other evil passions, were enlisted in the struggle ; and 



304 SUPERSTITIOUS BELIEF. 

although royalty for a time upheld the new creed, 
the vaunted triumphs of Rome were at last neutral- 
ized through the excessive violence and flagraDt 
enormities of her own sanguinary agents. Since 
that period they have repeatedly tried to regain a 
footing in their lost territory ; and their last repre* 
sentative, Monsignor de Jacobis, an able and learned 
bishop, might have succeeded in his attempt, had not 
the Jesuitical propensity to blend religion with 
politics entirely defeated his object, and compelled 
him and his friends to seek safety in flight. 

The Abyssinian Church, although she has pertina- 
ciously resisted the innovations of Rome, and the no 
less dangerous assaults of Islam, merits but little 
praise for her attachment to a creed which is a hbel 
upon the Gospel, and a caricature on the true Chris- 
tian faith. Weaned from idolatry, without beijig 
thoroughly enlightened by the truth, she soon sub- 
stituted asceticism for purity of life, and a mechanical 
performance of certain rites for the true worship of 
the living God. Fasts and penances, the adoration of 
the Virgin, and the intercession of Saints, together 
with the practice of circumcision, the observance of 
the Jewish Sabbath, and of all the Mosaic restrictions 
as to clean and unclean animals, form the essential 
teachings of her creed. A beggar in the street would 
in vain ask charity in the name of the Saviour, but 
let him pronounce the magical word " Miriam," and 
a humble apology, or a small pittance, will be the 
reply. To adore an image is considered a heinous 
offence ; but to fall down before the coarsest daub, or 



THE THREEFOLD BIBTH OF CHRIST. 305 

wooden Tadot, is the highest act of Christian 

de-^otion. Fasts are observed most rigorously; and 

tae wretch who is rioting in every shameful vice will 

Airink with horror from the man who touches animal 

tood during the interdicted seasons. Vice and im- 

ttiorality are even regulated by a peculiar ecclesiastical 

code ; and a conscientious sinner, will not hesitate to 

consult his spiritual adviser, as to the day and hour 

when he may with impunity break a Divine law. 

The cause of this spiritual degradation must 
in part be attributed to the selfishness of an idle 
priesthood, but more especially to their deplorable 
ignorance of the Word of God. A round of worth- 
less ceremonials, and the daily repetition of the Li- 
turgy in a language not understood by the people, and 
very often a dead letter even to the officiating priest, 
constitutes the service of the Church. At one time 
the King expressed his determination to supplant the 
ecclesiastical Ethiopic by the vernacular Amharic ; 
but as this would have subjected the priests to the 
trouble of reading what they now repeat by rote, such 
a storm of opposition was raised that, for the present, 
the project is in abeyance. 

Indifferent as the Abyssinian divines are about the 
grand doctrine of the Redemption, they have ever been 
most violent in their defence of certain opinions on the 
mysterious subject of the Incarnation. According to 
their system of theology, our blessed Lord had three 
births. Christ proceeding from the Father they style 
the eternal birth ; . Christ born of the Virgin they 
designate the temporal birth ; and Christ anointed by 



3U6 ABOONA SALAMA's REFORM. 

the Holy Ghost, or the union of the Divine and 
human nature in the Virgin, they term the third 
birth. The controversy between those who held the 
threefold birth, and those who approximated in their 
views to the other Oriental Churches, has at times 
waxed so fierce, that the sword, instead of the Bibles 
has often been called on to decide the contest. 

Ahoona Sdama, on his appointment to the vacant 
See of Ethiopia, actively exerted himself to heal the 
divisions which these unprofitable speculations had 
created in the Church. His orthodox sentiments, 
for which he is indebted to the Church Missionary 
Society's School at Cairo, where he was formerly a 
pupil, did not meet the approbation of his clergy, and 
for several years his life and property were exposed to 
imminent danger. About ten years ago, his archic- 
piscopal residence at Gondar was pillaged by the in- 
fatuated priesthood, and he himself only escaped mal- 
treatment by a timely flight into TigrL On the 
accession of King Theodoros, a loud clamour was 
raised for a more orthodox Ahoona \ but to the 
general surprise, the royal herald made proclamation 
that his Majesty approved of the scriptural doctrines 
of the Ahoona, and that in future all who adhered to 
the obnoxious dogma of the threefold birth would be 
taught obedience by the giraffe. The Shoa clergy 
denounced this decision as arbitrary and tyrannical, 
as indeed it was ; but an application of the promised 
whip wrought a wonderful change among that insub- 
ordinate body. Within the last few years several 
attenii)ts have been made to revive the old contro- 



EPISCOPAL ORDINATION. 307 

versy ; and it is quite certain that, in spite of the 
giraffe, the deeply-rooted error will not be eradicated 
till a new generation has displaced the present igno- 
rant body of ecclesiastics. 

The Abyssinian Church, in common with all other 
Christian communities in Asia and Africa, is strictly 
Episcopal. The Aboona, or Primate, who is conse- 
crated to his office by the Patriarch of Alexandria, the 
revered successor of St. Mark, can alone confer the 
priestly title. Every candidate, before presenting 
himself for ordination, must have acquired some 
knowledge in the reading of the sacred language of 
Ethiopia, and in the complicated ceremonies of the 
liturgical service. On the day appointed for ordina- 
tion, the Primate, in full canonicals, and seated on the 
episcopal throne, receives the applicants for the sacred 
office. All being properly ranged before the chair of 
St. Mark, each candidate solemnly abjures the old 
heresy of the three births, and then, instead of the 
imposition of hands, receives the Aboonas consecrat- 
ing breath. Former Archbishops, less scrupulous 
than the present successor of Frumentiua, indiscrimi- 
nately breathed on all, whether qualified or not, 
who could pay the requisite fee of two salts— four- 
pence. This abuse of the episcopal office is happily 
now no longer practised. 

Deacons . are selected from among boys, who are 
only allowed to serve in the church till they attain 
the age of twelve or thirteen ; after that period their 
purity of life is suspected, and they are no longer 
considered fit to approach the sacred shrine of the 

A. M 



308 CHARACTER OF THE DEBTBRAHS. 

Tabot. The Bishop and monks may not many, 
while the priests may ; and as, on the death of their 
wives, they cannot contract a second alliance, the 
reverend wooers invariably choose for their partners 
the most robust and sprightly lasses in the land. 

The dehteraliSy or scribes, constitute the lowest, but 
most influential body in the Church. These worthies 
enjoy no ecclesiastical rank, are under no ecclesiastical 
discipline, and yet no service can be properly per- 
formed unless they take part in it. Their chief duty 
consists in chanting the Psalms and Liturgy, but 
their uncouth gesticulation and discordant shouting, 
instead of elevating devotion, tend rather, at least in 
European estimation, to convert the service of God 
into a sinful burlesque, and the sanctuary into a 
bedlam. The scanty learning of the country is exclu- 
sively monopolized by this order; and they are so 
proud of their erudition, that they deem it a disgrace 
to exchange, by the breathing of the Aboona, the 
proud title of debterah for the less learned appellation 
of kas, or priest. 

These literati, notwithstanding their better acquaint- 
ance with the sacred volume and the lives of the 
saints, are considered the most arrant scoundrels in 
the land. GondaVy which contains a considerable 
number of the fraternity, is notorious for the dissolute 
profligacy of its inhabitants; and it is proverbial 
throughout the country that wherever debterah 
abound there vice and immorality thrive. 

Ignorant and depraved as the Abyssinians are, they 
yet possess many traits of character which, if rightly 



MENTAL CULTURE. 309 

developed, may hereafter raise them to be a great 
civilized Christian nation. Superior in mental culture, 
rehgious sentiments, and social condition to the tribes 
and races around them, they only require to become 
thoroughly imbued with the knowledge of the Gospel, 
and their ardent temper, purified from its gross pas- 
sions, will prompt them to carry the message of salva- 
tion to those densely-populated regions of Central 
Africa which have never felt the breath of Divine 
truth, and have never heard the glad tidings of 
redeeming love. To effect this happy consummation 
no great influx of Eiu'opean missionaries is required ; 
nay, a pious rivalry between different religious Socie- 
ties would defeat the very object sought to be 
attained. The Abyssinians are a shrewd, suspicious, 
and jealous people. The Jesuits taught them a lesson 
which many centuries will not obliterate. The hope, 
therefore, of that nation's spiritual regeneration is, for 
the present at least, and perhaps till great political 
changes occur, completely bound up with the evan- 
gelization of the Jews. Let the Falashas, who have 
for more than two thousand years so wonderfully, and 
under various vicissitudes, retained their national dis- 
tinctiveness and isolation on the highlands of Abyssinia, 
be brought to the Cross of the Redeemer, and there 
will then be the men and the means, morally and phy- 
sically qualified, to subdue that unhappy and sin- 
stained land to the obedience of the Gospel of 
Christ. 



310 



CHAPTER XXI. 

Physiognomy — Dress — The Toilet — Ornaments — Shoes — Mil- 
liners— ^Mode of Washing — ^Fumitore— Retinae— MinenJiH— 
Undeveloped Resources — Cotton — Bright Destiny. 

In visiting a remote country, the appearance of the 
inhabitants produces the most striking impressions. 
The idea that the dress, features, and healings of a 
people tolerably well indicate their intellectual acquire- 
ments, and comparative progress in the arts of civilized 
life, may perhaps account fbr this interest. Thus, on 
entering Abyssinia, the traveller at once perceives that 
he is in the midst of a race superior in every respect to 
all the other tribes of Central Africa. The negro cast 
of countenance — the stamp of Ham's oppressed de- 
scendants, almost disappears on the Alpine heights of 
Ethiopia, and, instead of it, the men and women one 
sees possess features and symmetry of form that may 
justly be termed handsome. To give a full delinea- 
tion of their person is an easy task, since in every 
respect a genuine Abyssinian resembles a bronze 
statue, which the greatest sculptor might safely take 
for his model. In size the true medium is between 
five and six feet. Corpulent persons I have never 
seen amongst them, which may be accounted for by 
their contiiuial exposure to the open air, and their 



COMPLEXION. 311 

inartificial mode of existence. Erect and slender, 
they are still* not devoid of muscular strength, nor of 
that symmetrical roundness which so much contri- 
butes to the beauty of the human frame. Their 
complexion, unlike that of other dark races, is very 
varied. The light olive-brown certainly predomi- 
nates ; but it is not unusual to meet in a single town or 
village individuals who exhibit every shade of colour, 
from the pale Egjrptian on the Nile at Cairo to 
the dark Negro in the malarious jungles near the 
equator. This peculiarity is, however, not so notable 
amongst the highlanders as amongst those who dwell 
near the low border districte, where a free intermix- 
ture with the black ShankgaUas produces a marked 
change in the tint of the skin, and the expression of 
the countenance. 

The costume of the Abyssinian is exceedingly 
simple. Men of all ranks, from the King to the beggar, 
wear a shama^ or loose dress of white cotton, which, 
in graceful folds, is thrown over the shoulders, so as 
to leave the hands and arms free to carry spear and 
buckler. The softness of the web, and the depth of 
the red border round the bottom of this convenient 
garb, indicate the social position of the wearer, and 
this is so minutely defined, that any one who should 
presume to ape his betters would, in all probability, 
obtain a lesson or two on dress from the imperial yira/(?- 
holder. Beneath the shatna the aristocrat dons his 
silken, damask, or velvet kamees ; but this is a privi- 
lege only granted to a few magnates, and those whom 
the King delights to honoiu-. Trowsers of the same 



ABYSSINIAN WOMKN. 



k 

I 



of the sheep. Those made b^ the saddlers at Gondar 
are lined with red cotton stutf, or gay chintz ; but as 
the common soldiers caunot generally afford so costly 
an article, the majority content themselves with a 
half-drcsaed sheep's hide, which is fastcued by a strip 
of leather around their necks. The great chiefs, like 
the Spartans of old, during an engagement, wear 
scarlet jackets or cloaks, in order that in a sharp 
hand-to-hand combat, the enemy may not perceive 
the wounds he has uiflicted, and so cut off hia op- 
ponent's retreat. 

The description of the men may, with little variation, 
be applied to the women. In their appearance and 
form, the Abyssinian ladies are certainly not unde- 
serving the funte they have ever enjoyed among their 
sallow and dark-skinned neighbours. Round and 
well proportioned, they are particularly favoured with 
high and broad foreheads, uquiliuc noses, and eyes 
which, notwithstanding, their unpleasing large size 
and dark brilliancy, are so tempered by a soft dreamy 
expression, that they rather enhance than detract 
from what orientals consider the perfection of beauty. 
Their teeth are tolerably white and even, but do not 
come up to those of the negro. The Abyssinians, how- 
ever, surpass every other African tribe, in the luxn- i 
riant growth of their hair. Blatk as jet, andsometimea i 
even as straight and glossy as that of the European, 
it is much to bo regretted that neither the men nor the 
women should be satisfied with a gift nature has so | 
liberally] [bestowed on them, but seek to improve it I 
either by shaving a part of the head, or by the appU- 



814 MODE OF ARKANGINO THE HAIR. 

cation of an abominable coating of rancid butter. 
The fear of a too rapid multiplication of certain 
parasitic insects, that might otherwise settle in the 
uncombed fleece, may perhaps have originated the 
custom, but whatever brought it first into vogue, the 
disgusting practice is at present considered the height 
of fashion, and, of course, every Abyssinian lady 
delights in its indulgence. The mode of trimming 
the hair depends on its length and on the silkiness 
of its texture, and partly also on the position in life of 
its possessor. Servants and peasants generally twist 
theirs into an entangled mass of curls, till it some- 
what resembles a lawyer's wig ; town's-people, on the 
contrary, have a great passion for plaits, which al- 
ways remind one of Isis, Sesostris, and all the other 
notabilities on the monuments of ancient Egypt ; and 
not a few amongst the beau-monde allow their raven 
locks to fall over their dubiously-coloured necks, in 
not ungraceful negligL 

Particular as the Abyssinians arc in the manage- 
ment of the hair, they arc somewhat indifferent about 
the more important matter of dress. Ladies of 
rank, besides the usual under-gannent, and a loose 
shirt reaching below the knees, and neatly em- 
broidered in front and on the cuffs, envelop them- 
selves, on special occasions, in a fine shaina, with 
a gay silk border, or in a gorgeously coloiu*ed cloak 
of English or German cloth. Women of the lower 
ranks, however, dispense with all these superflui- 
ties. A wide sack kamceSy when at home, and the 
usual winding-sheet over it when going abroad, form 



LOVE OF ORNAMBNTS. 316 

their entire outfit. Some even discard these luxuries, 
and in their stead merely wear round the waist a 
cotton rag, or a dressed skin, which they fasten just 
above the loins with such peculiar tact that, during a 
journey, or when engaged in domestic duties, this 
primitive garb never becomes disarranged. 

Ornaments are the rage of rich and poor. Those 
who possess means carry their love for all kinds of 
trinkets to such an excess, that they often have 
more than three pounds weight of silver bells, chains, 
and little scent boxes dangling down over their bosom, 
besides all the other et ceteras^ such as rosaries, 
bangles, and an endless variety of charms against the 
Boudtty ZaVy and every evil to which ladies in Abys- 
sinia, as in other lands, are liable. The less favoured 
daughters of fortune, who cannot afford to spend 
Maria Theresa dollars, adorn their slightly covered or 
uncovered bosoms with large black and yellow beads, 
a blue silk matteb^ and a string of potent amulets 
neatly sown in square leather cases. 

The feet, which are small and well shaped, neither 
the men nor the women expose to the agony of the 
native shoes. A few stylish ladies and conceited 
priests may occasionally be seen to indulge in this 
extravagance ; but then they appear so uncomfortable, 
and so piteously ill-at-ease, that one is almost inclined 
to regard them as penitents, who, to atone for certain 
sins, compress their toes in a clumsily-carved instru- 
ment of torture. 

Fond as the Abyssinian women are of embroidered 
garments and other fineries, it is strange that they 



316 MALE MILLINER. 

should never try to gain even a slight acquaintance 
\9ith the use of the needle. High and low alike 
depend upon their male friends for every stitch in 
their dress. Tastes, of course, vary in different coun- 
tries ; but I confess that it always provoked me to see 
a tall, bearded fellow acting the dressmaker, and a 
slender girl performing the functions of the groom. 
Several times I tried to introduce a reform among our 
own people, but the very attempt to allot to each his 
own proper work produced such a storm of discontent, 
that I gave up the matter in despair. 

But if it is provoking to see a man pilfering the 
needle, it is still more aggravating to see him mono- 
polise the laundry. It is true, the Abyssinians have 
as strong a prejudice against clean linen, as against a 
clean face ; still, whenever, during the course of the 
year, the shirt or shama requires a little scrubbing, a 
big fellow, far better adapted to plough the field, 
performs the agreeable job. Soap the operation docs 
not require, nor can Ethiopia boast of this important 
article. The buds of a plant called cndott* after 
being dried and pulverized, is made to answer the 
same purpose. Tubs, soda, potash, and all the other 
ingredients employed by us in the destruction of linen, 
arc there dispensed with. A large stiff hide, spread 
out in a hole or between stones, so as to give it a 
concave form, constitutes the apparatus in which the 
dirty clothes and endott are placed. This task accom- 
plished, the washerman pours over it a sufficient 
quantity of water to saturate the whole, and then 

* Pliytolecca Ahvssiiiica. 



I 



t 



Uy marches into it, and jumps and stamps untQ'l 
his feet are buried up to the aukles in an ashy lather, I 
This process, if necessary, is repeated two or threol 
times; but our own wash, we were often tauntinglyl 
informed (probably because it was considered un-j 
manly), never required more than one operation. 

The adage — " Man wants hut httle liere below "^| 
seems a palpable absurdity when uttered by people 
who live in rooms that have the appearance of regular 
furniture shops, so that one cannot move without a 
nervous apprehension of coming in collision with an i 
exquisitely inlaid table, a valuable classic vase, or a \ 
beautiful statuette, that would look still more beautiful ! 
if it had a slight additional drapery around its grace- 
fully-chiselled limbs, and many other encumbrauces 
that are considered indispensable. Now in Ethiopia, 
where civilization first took its rise, and then, like the 
fertilizing Nile, poured its treasure into Egypt, whence 
it found a way into Greece and the rest of the ancient | 
civilised world, no such inconsistency would attach to 
the use of the proverb, for there a few earthen pota 
and jars, a tray or two in which to bake the thin bread, 
and half a dozen spears, are the usual furniture of an ' 
ordinary establishment. Wicker baskets, serving also ' 
the purpose of a table, and a variety of large horns in 
whieh hydromel is carried on journeys, together with 
shields, Bwords, and a few monstrous pomade-pots of 
dried gourds, may also be seen around the wattle hats I 
of officers and merchants; but the stationary baalX 
acker, or peasant, is quite content if he has thft J 
requisite pottery in which to prepare his daily food. 



318 OPERATIONS OF liUSBANDRT. 

The Abyssinian, whether at home or on a journey, 
retires to rest an hour or two after sunset. Bedsteads, 
or algas, being everywhere scarce, he spreads a bul- 
lock's hide over rushes, and sleeps as soundly as he 
could on down. Families huddle together in groups ; 
and it not unfrequently happens, on grand visiting or 
market days, that half a dozen couples, and perhaps 
an equal proportion of hopeful progeny, will be rolled 
up like sacks in a shed which a couple of Europeans 
would find too narrow to breathe in. Immediately 
on rising the women attend to their domestic work ; 
whilst the men cither idly dawdle about, or, if engaged 
in agricultural pursuits, repair to the field. Their im- 
plements of husbandry are of the rudest description. 
The plough is a rough beam, with a crooked handle 
to guide it, and a wedge, forming a vertical angle, to 
cut the soil. Straight parallel furrows the Ethiopian 
husbandman does not consider of any importance. 
His oxen or niulcs may run in all directions ; he is 
quite siu^e that, if the earth is only broken, the seed 
scattered over it will yield an abundant harvest. This 
kind of work, which is the heaviest the men perform, 
admits of no comparison with the more onerous duties 
devolving on the poor women. In a large household, 
where a good number of females are recjuired, some 
go early in the morning to collect wood, and others 
to fetch water, while not a few busily employ their 
hands in cleaning the stables, or in preparing bread, 
shiro, dlUiky and ^colz for breakfast. To remove the 
husks from the grain before it is washed and ground, 
is regarded by all as a most tiring job. We usually 



OCCUPATION OP THE WOMEN. 

employed two to relieve each other at this occupation j 
but the unfeeling natives, who have no such coa'J 




sideration, sometimes force their I'einnle servants or 
slaves to stand over the rude mortar till their anus J 
become almost paralysed, and lliey are ready to ( 
from sheer exhaustion and fatigue. 

In 8])eakiDg of menials, I will just mention thaq 
iu the homes of the great, their number is lite 
legion. Twenty men and six or seven women i 
the usunl attendants of a respcctubic uuTchant 
royal officer. Their wages, as already stilted, vary £] 



820 MATERIAL RESOURCES. 

two to three dollars per year, but even this pittance is 
not always paid. Contempt for the ill-requited labour 
of husbandry, and the great lack of other useful in- 
dustry, may be assigned as the ' chief causes of the 
abject servitude to which more than half the popula- 
tion is reduced. 

The remedy for the many evils which at present 
afflict this unhappy land, next to a purer faith, lies in 
the development of its vast material resources. Fa- 
voured with a beautiful climate, possessing a most 
fertile soil, and abounding in the utmost variety of 
natural productions, Abyssinia contains all the ele- 
ments calculated to make a nation wealthy and 
prosperous. In most provinces iron is found in 
abundance, both in the low valleys and the high 
mountain ranges. The process of smelting, though 
effected with no other machinery than two rude hand- 
bellows and a hole in the ground, produces, neverthe- 
ess, a metal which establishes the superiority of the 
ore. At Debra Tabor, where the king has opened a 
workshop for the manufacture and repair of arms, 
under the superintendence of two of the artisans sent 
out by the Bishop of Jerusalem, I saw several bars, 
which, I was assured, needed only more skilful pre- 
paration to equal the best English pig-iron. Coal, 
another valuable article, we ourselves found on the 
banks of the Quanque, and there is every probability 
that this fossil exists in other parts of the country. 
These two useful products, which may at some future 
period prove the means of covering central Africa 
with a web of railways, would be of small benefit to 



COTTON PLANTATIONS. 321 

Abyssinia, did she not also possess the more precious 
staples requisite to insure her a great and splendid 
future. Coffee, ivory, civet, gold, together with wax, 
honey and butter, are at present the sole exports to 
Massowah and Matamma ; but whilst these articles 
could at once be easily quadrupled, the prolific soil 
ofiers the widest area for the cultivation of indigo, the 
sugar-cane, a variety of cereals, and every product of 
the tropics. 

The most promising plant, however, which the 
territory of King Theodoroa could furnish to an 
unlimited extent, is cotton. This subject was ably 
advocated by Dr. Beke, before the Manchester Cotton 
Supply Association, in June, 1861. The Doctor, from 
his o\ra observations while travelling in the country, 
became so impressed with its capabilities in this respect, 
that he offered to put down 1,000/., if twenty-four 
other gentlemen would advance a similar amount, 
towards the establishment of a factory on the out- 
skirts of the elevated table-land. Now, at a moment 
when the unhappy conflict on the other side of the 
Atlantic is crippling the energies of the strong, and 
arresting the activity of the industrious, the manufac- 
turer, as well as the statesman, ought not to forget 
that Abyssinia and the border districts, have been ever 
famous for the abundance and unrivalled excellence of 
their cotton plantations. 

King Theodoros, as is well known, has always 
manifested great partiality for Europeans ; and any 
project calculated to enhance the wealth of his empire, 
and the stability of his throne, is sure to meet with 

T 



822 ABT88IKIA*8 DB811NT. 



his countenance and sapport. Sinoe the death of 
Mr. Bell, whose judidous counsels exerted the most 
happy influence on the conduct and actions of the 
despot, some unfavourable change have characterized 
his proceedings ; still it admits of little doubt that the 
present ruler of Abyssinia, with all his faults, — which 
the circumstances of his birth and the condition of 
his country must in some degree palliate, — is a man 
far in advance of his people in ideas and aspirations; 
and, whether commercial enterprise is to find a new 
sphere, or the interests of oppressed humanity in 
Africa are to be promoted, by a little circumspection and 
proper judgment, these and other desirable objects may 
be surely advanced whilst such a man as King lYieo- 
doros occupies the throne of Ethiopia. Hitherto 
neither the sovereign nor his subjects have had much 
opportunity for forming a correct estimate of the 
various sources of wealth that lie within their reach, 
or, what is of far greater import, of becoming ac- 
quainted with the beauty of that Gospel in which they 
so loudly profess to believe ; but, let the missionary 
quietly and judiciously pursue his evangelistic work ; 
let the fostering hand of trade develop the hidden 
treasures of the land, and an impulse will be given to 
industry, a stimulus to civilisation, and a salutary 
power to law ; and the only nation in Central Africa 
bearing the name of Christian, and now, alas, noto- 
rious for vice, may yet become famous for " whatso- 
ever is honest, lovely, and of good report." 



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